Biodegradable Packing Peanuts – History, Usage and Environmental Benefits

Organization is key when sorting bank statements, transaction receipts and other financial documents. Whether documents are archived for personal consumption or for office use, an orderly filing system should help make its retrieval for future reference much easier.


Companies have always provided safeguards to prevent damage to fragile merchandise during shipment.  Protection against damage is already infused when packing merchandise. Should there be any flaw in cargo handling the packing material can prevent the irreparable damage to the merchandise.

How are merchandise protected against mishandling during shipping?

Cushioning materials are added into packaging to reduce the possibility of damage while the merchandise is in transit. Different kinds of materials have been experimented on, starting with newspapers to actual peanuts and finally today Styrofoam packing peanuts – courtesy of Dow Chemicals Co. Styrofoam is actually a generic name for expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. The material is 98% air and molded into proprietary shape to maximize cushioning capability and increase stability.

What are packing peanuts?

The name may have been derived from the natural peanuts used as packaging material in the past. Packing peanuts are loose-fill, mailroom supplies packaging and cushioning material that absorbs the impact of cargo handling and prevents damage to the merchandise. Originally introduced in 1965, packing peanuts became the most depended upon form of packaging material. In fact, the use of EPS packaging increased to around 206 million pounds at the end of 2010. This is based on data obtained from the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers or AFPR.

What are biodegradable packing peanuts?

Instead of petroleum-based polystyrene, natural starch has been used as the raw material for biodegradable packing peanuts. The development of the biodegradable type was inspired by the World’s dependence on EPS foam. Too much use of EPS foam triggered a backlash in the environmental effort to quash trash. Although around 72 million pounds of EPS foam waste have been recycled the previous year, the effort is still way, way short of the production levels. Thus manufacturers curbed efforts to produce oil-based polystyrene and shifted preference to starch-based packing peanuts. The new wholesale office supplies packing material is now biodegradable, but more expensive than the petroleum-based EPS foam.

Are biodegradable packing peanuts environment friendly?

When it comes to showing concerns to the environment the use of starch-based packing material is the best option. Most are directly developed from sorghum and corn starch. Being biodegradable, users no longer need to collect and send used packing materials to recycling facilities. Actually this type of material dissolves in water. In fact, users can dispose it along with domestic waste or discard it into the backyard compost pit. Typically, biodegradable packing peanuts are produced with the green color to distinguish it from polystyrene foam.

Next time you open up tightly packed goods do not be surprised if the packing peanut is green. The packing company is simply environment conscious and relies on biodegradable products to prevent damage to the goods during shipment. 

Get fast shipping times and great prices for biodegradable packing peanuts. Find all the office products you need in one convenient location online, only at Northland Wholesale.
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