You might overlook something as seemingly inconsequential as packing peanuts in the hustle and bustle of running a small business. However, these little items are critical in keeping your products safe during transit. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about packing peanuts, from their history and types to their environmental impact, and even how to choose the right kind for your business.
What are Packing Peanuts?
Let’s go back in time a little. Packing peanuts were first introduced in the late 1960s, offering a lightweight and effective solution for protecting items during shipping. They are specifically designed to cushion and secure products, filling in the gaps in boxes and packages to prevent the jostling of goods during transport.
The making of packing peanuts is a fascinating process. They are made by expanding polystyrene, a kind of plastic, into a foam state, then cutting it into small peanut-like shapes. The final product is lightweight, white (though they can be colored), and incredibly effective in providing package protection.
Types of Packing Peanuts
There are mainly two types of packing peanuts that have gained popularity in the shipping and moving industry: Styrofoam packing peanuts and biodegradable packing peanuts.
Styrofoam Packing Peanuts
Styrofoam, a brand-name version of polystyrene foam, is the more traditional option. These packing peanuts are lightweight, cheap, and protect your stock during transit. They are water-resistant, making them suitable for goods that might be exposed to damp conditions. However, the downside of Styrofoam packing peanuts lies in their environmental impact. These peanuts are not biodegradable, taking hundreds, if not thousands, of years to break down in a landfill.
Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
As more businesses are moving towards sustainable options, biodegradable packing peanuts are becoming increasingly popular. They are made from organic materials such as cornstarch, wheat, or sorghum. When exposed to water, they dissolve, leaving no harmful residue. They offer similar protection to Styrofoam peanuts and, despite being slightly more expensive, they align with an eco-conscious business model.
Environmental Impact of Packing Peanuts
Consideration of the environment is now more important than ever. Customers appreciate businesses that show concern for sustainability.
Styrofoam Packing Peanuts and the Environment
Styrofoam peanuts have an undeniably negative impact on the environment. They are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. When disposed of, they take an incredibly long time to break down, contributing to landfill waste.
Biodegradable Packing Peanuts and the Environment
Biodegradable packing peanuts, on the other hand, have a much lesser environmental impact. They decompose naturally in the environment, often requiring just water to begin the process. This makes them an excellent option for environmentally-conscious business owners.
Best Packing Peanuts for Small Businesses
Below are our 10 picks for the best packing peanuts on Amazon. Whether you’re a business that ships items, a mover or want a safe storage option for valuables, you’re sure to find what you need among our picks.
Secure Seal Biodegradable Loosefill Anti Static Peanuts
Top Pick: Secure Seal offers eco-friendly and effective packaging solutions with Biodegradable White Packing Loosefill Anti Static Peanuts. This product has a 7 Cubic Feet volume, ideal for safely shipping and packing a range of items. These packing peanuts provide superior cushioning and protection for your items and are also crafted from natural plant starch, making them nontoxic and completely biodegradable. Certified by ASTM-6400-12 for municipal and industrial composting, these peanuts dissolve harmlessly in water. They’re also static-free, posing no risk to sensitive electronic components.
7 Cubic Feet (also available in 1, 2, 3.5, and 14 cubic feet)
Material: Natural plant starch (biodegradable and non-toxic)
Water-soluble, Anti-static, Provides shock-absorbent cushioning
U-Haul Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
Runner Up: U-Haul, the infamous rental and moving company, has its own brand of biodegradable peanuts. They are reusable and non-toxic and come in bags of 1.5 cu. ft each.
Made from potato and cornstarch
Dissolvable, non-toxic, and anti-static
Minimum of 1.5 cu. ft. per bag
Bubblefast Brand Bulk Anti Static Packing Peanuts
Best Value: As we all know, often buying in bulk can save big bucks in the long run. Bubblefast offers this 35 cu. ft. bag of pink anti-static peanuts. That’s 225 gallons! If you plan to do a lot of shipping, this generous amount will keep you supplied and save you some money.
35 cu. ft. (225 gallons) of S-shaped peanuts
Not water soluble
Can be used for planting, chair filling, and shipping
StarBoxes White Regular Loose Fill Shipping Packing Peanuts
StarBoxes packing peanuts, offering a volume of 22.5 gallons or approximately three cubic feet, contribute to secure and stable packaging. Crafted from lightweight polyethylene, they efficiently mitigate the risk of product shifting during transit. Their compact dimensions allow for adequate space utilization and a snug fit. They ship via USPS, ensuring reliable and prompt delivery. The signature white color of these StarBoxes packing peanuts adds a clean and professional touch to your shipments.
Shape: S-shaped for stable packing
Size: 22.5 Gallons or Approximately 3 Cubic Feet
Material: Polyethylene, lightweight and durable
Dimensions: Each peanut measures 1.75 x 0.3 x 0.3 inches
FunPak Plant Based Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
FunPak offers plant-based, biodegradable packing peanuts that add an environmentally friendly yet fun touch to your packaging. The peanuts, constructed from starch-based materials, come in fun shapes like shamrocks and hearts. With a volume of 1.5 cubic feet per bag, they offer ample filling for your packing needs. An added benefit of these packing peanuts is their water-soluble nature, which leaves no harmful residues and makes disposal easy and guilt-free.
Shape/Color: Lots of shapes and colors available
Volume: 1.5 cubic feet per bag
Material: Starch-based, eco-friendly, and sustainable
Features: Water-soluble, leaves no harmful residue
Certification: Certified as eco-friendly
MT Products EPS White Packing Peanuts for Shipping
These recyclable peanuts provide a high-performance cushioning solution that effectively fills up space in your boxes, preventing breakage during transit. The packing peanuts come in a sealed bag that measures 12.5 inches in all dimensions, containing enough material to fill a small-sized carton. These peanuts are not only sturdy and reliable, resisting crumbling or tearing, but they’re also versatile, serving as lightweight foam peanuts for crafting or lightening potted plants by replacing heavy soil.
Size: Approximately 0.60 Cubic Feet (Bag Measures 12.5″ x 12.5″ x 7″)
Material: EPS (Recyclable)
Benefits: Prevents breakage during transit, sturdy, lightweight, and versatile.
MWS Loose Fill Packing Peanuts
These popcorn-style loose fill peanuts provide half a cubic foot of material that expertly cushions package contents from all sides, ensuring optimal protection. Crafted from polystyrene, these packing peanuts possess a resilience to temperature fluctuations and are waterproof. Plus, these packing peanuts are 100% recyclable, which aids in minimizing environmental impact.
Size: 1/2 Cubic Foot (12″ x 6″ x 12″ bag)
Resistant to temperature changes, waterproof, and 100% recyclable.
DMSE Packing Peanuts Shipping
DMSE Wholesale provides 1/2 cubic foot of Anti Static No Stick Packing Peanuts, designed for your optimal packaging needs. These S-Shape loose fill peanuts are not just recyclable, they also incorporate an anti-static feature, ensuring a hassle-free experience as they won’t stick to your fingers. Their dust-free property ensures a clean packing environment while their shape easily fills gaps in your packaging, offering a more secure and protected package.
1/2 Cubic Foot (16″ x 10″ x 6″ bag)
100% Recyclable, Anti-static (won’t stick to fingers), Dust-free, Fills gaps easily.
BOX USA Shipping & Packing Peanuts White, 7 Cubic Feet
These white, loose-fill peanuts are made from annually renewable, starch-based resources, showcasing a commitment to sustainability. They exhibit remarkable features such as disintegrating in water and leaving no harmful residues behind, contributing to environmental friendliness. In addition, these packing peanuts are dust-free, anti-static, and abrasion-resistant, ensuring a clean, hassle-free, and durable packing experience.
Size: 7 Cubic Feet
Material: Starch-based (Annually renewable resources)
Disintegrates in water, leaves no harmful residue, is dust-free, anti-static, and abrasion-resistant.
Bubblefast! Brand 3.5 cu. ft. Pink Anti-Static Packing Peanuts
Bubblefast presents its distinctive pink packing peanuts, boasting a volume of 3.5 cubic feet or 22.5 gallons. These anti-static peanuts are made from 100% recycled material and contribute to environmental sustainability while ensuring optimal packing security. The peanuts’ unique “S” shape interlocks to form a robust cushion that reliably protects your packages. Beyond packing, these versatile peanuts can be used to fill bean bag chairs and, due to their water-insoluble nature, they can also serve as lightweight fillers in planters.
Size: 3.5 cubic feet (22.5 gallons)
Material: EPS (100% Recycled Material)
Can be used in bean bag chairs and planters, anti-static, not water-soluble.
How to Choose the Right Packing Peanuts for Your Business
Choosing the right packing peanuts for your business is not a one-size-fits-all process. It depends on several factors:
Size and Volume of Your Shipments
The size and volume of your shipments should influence your decision. If you’re shipping a large volume of goods, you might opt for the cheaper option of Styrofoam peanuts. But remember, the marginal extra cost of biodegradable peanuts could be worth it for their environmental benefits.
Sensitivity of Products
The sensitivity of your products is also crucial. If your items are prone to water damage, Styrofoam peanuts might be your best bet due to their water resistance.
If your packages are stored in places that might be exposed to damp conditions, or if your products are sensitive to moisture, it’s best to stick with Styrofoam peanuts, as biodegradable ones will start to break down when exposed to water.
Your Business’s Environmental Stance
Your business’s stance on environmental issues can also influence your choice. If you’ve committed to be environmentally friendly, it may make more sense to opt for biodegradable packing peanuts.
Disposing and Recycling Packing Peanuts
After your customers unpack their goods, the packing peanuts don’t have to end up in the trash. There are ways to responsibly dispose of both types of packing peanuts.
How to Dispose of Styrofoam Packing Peanuts
While Styrofoam peanuts can’t be tossed in your regular recycling bin, they can be reused or taken to a specialized recycling facility. Many shipping stores will gladly accept used Styrofoam peanuts. So, before throwing them away, encourage your customers to check if a local store can reuse them.
How to Dispose of Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
Biodegradable packing peanuts are much easier to dispose of. They can be composted, used in gardening, or simply dissolved in water and washed down the drain. Remember to inform your customers about these options, contributing to the collective effort of reducing waste.
Unpacking the Benefits of Proper Packaging
Choosing the right packaging, including packing peanuts, can significantly impact your business’s success. It’s not just about protecting the items during transit; it’s also about showing your customers that you care about their purchases and the environment.
Ensuring Customer Satisfaction
Packaging that effectively protects a customer’s purchase can increase customer satisfaction. There’s nothing more disappointing than receiving a damaged item. High-quality packing peanuts can help prevent this.
The Importance of Eco-friendly Options
You show your customers that you’re committed to sustainability by opting for eco-friendly options like biodegradable packing peanuts. This can improve your company’s image and even attract new customers who prioritize environmentally friendly businesses.
A Competitive Edge: High-quality Packaging as a Moving Tool
Lastly, the quality of your packaging can give you a competitive edge. If a customer is deciding between two companies offering similar products, your commitment to secure, high-quality, and eco-friendly packaging could be the deciding factor.
In the end, choosing the right packing peanuts and other packaging supplies is an important business decision. By considering factors like the type of products you ship, your shipment volume, and your environmental stance, you can choose to benefit both your business and your customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s tackle a few common questions about packing peanuts.
Can I reuse packing peanuts?
Yes, you can! Both Styrofoam and biodegradable packing peanuts can be reused. They are durable and retain their shape after many uses, making them a sustainable choice for multiple shipments.
How are biodegradable packing peanuts made?
Biodegradable packing peanuts are made from natural, plant-based materials such as cornstarch or wheat. These materials are processed and expanded into a foam, which is then shaped into peanuts. The end product is light, cushioning, and environmentally friendly.
Can packing peanuts be harmful to pets or children if ingested?
Styrofoam packing peanuts can be a choking hazard for both pets and children, and they aren’t digestible. Biodegradable packing peanuts are safer in this regard. While they aren’t a food item and shouldn’t be ingested on purpose, they are non-toxic and will dissolve in water, reducing the risk if accidentally swallowed.
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