Are You Using The Right Packing Peanuts?

Business Blog

If you own a business that ships product on a regular basis, you know the importance of ensuring that your packaging is customized to your product. While the outside packaging is important, one of the main components that provides the most protection when your package is in transit, is what you have inside of the box. If you are currently using packaging peanuts as a part of your packing materials, you may not realize that not all packing peanuts are the same. Are you using the best ones for your company? Read on to see.

Foam Peanuts

Foam peanuts that are also known as popcorn, packing noodles, or loose fill are made from polystyrene. They are one of the oldest packing peanuts on the market. They are lightweight, inexpensive, adaptable, and reusable. The shape of them allows them to interlock when they are compressed, which keeps them from shifting and sliding during shipping. But you may see different shapes based on the manufacture of the materials.

Foam peanuts can be found in three different colors that each symbolize something different. For example:

  • White foam signifies they are made of virgin polystyrene 
  • Green foam signifies they are made from recycled polystyrene
  • Pink foam signifies an anti-static material has been applied to them

One of the downsides to foam peanuts that have not had an anti-static material applied is the amount of static that they build up. Not only does this make them a pain to pack and unpack, but they can also conduct electricity and damage electronics. 

Unfortunately, polystyrene or foam peanuts are not biodegradable; there is nothing that will break them down. Once they are placed in the landfill, they will remain there. This has caused several cities to ban their use, as well as other petroleum-based materials.

Starch-Based Packing Peanuts

As an environmentally-friendly alternative, starch-based packing peanuts were developed in the early 1990s. These are constructed from crop-based sources such as potato, sorghum, and corn. They are non-toxic, which means they are not a hazard around children or animals. You do not have to worry about them being swallowed. They do not build up an electrostatic charge which makes them safe to package electronics, as well as any other fragile materials.

Unlike polystyrene or foam peanuts that are not biodegradable, these are biodegradable and actually can be dissolved with water and washed down a drain. They will not cause any damage to plumbing or septic systems.

The disadvantages to starch-based packing peanuts is that because they are slightly less resilient than the foam, they can break down and generate dust. They are higher in weight, which may translate to slightly higher shipping costs. In addition, although the sugars have been removed from the starch during production, there are still some concerns that they may attract bugs or rodents. 

Each of these packing peanuts have pros and cons. Your company may need to have both of them on hand or available from your shipping contractor depending on what types of products you are shipping and where those products most often get shipped to.

A custom packaging company will be able to help you to design the right type of packaging that will ensure that your packages get to where they are going with their contents intact, even if you ultimately decide not to use starch or foam packing peanuts. Some companies will even come to your facility, examine your operation to see what your products are like, and make suggestions on packaging solutions that may offer better choices. Visit a site like to start exploring your shipping and packaging options.


31 July 2017

Cultural Sensitivity Training For The International Marketer

Hi there, my name is Amanda O'Leary. I have traveled all around the world, with most of my time spent in north Africa and southeast Asia, but I have set foot in every major region of the world. I recommend that literally everyone else do the same. Experiencing such a broad range of cultures can really change your outlook on life. One thing I have noticed is that international businesses still struggle to market to foreigners. Because this is a topic that I am passionate about, I have decided to create a blog designed to help businesses bring their products and brands overseas in a manner that will be culturally sensitive and highly profitable.