Packing peanuts were created and introduced in 1965 by Dow Chemical. Originally they were made from 100% virgin polystyrene resin, but in the early-1990s, a more environmentally friendly packaging material was developed. These peanuts are composed of materials that break down naturally after disposal into common elements such as carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Additionally, biodegradable foam peanuts have no static charge, which is another benefit over polystyrene. This biodegradable product provides a green packing solution and they may be recycled at virtually any packing and shipping store.
The Plastic Loose Fill Council (PLFC) was founded in 1991 to develop, promote and implement the original use and subsequent recovery, reuse and recycling of polystyrene loose fill, commonly known as “packing peanuts.” The Council operates the Peanut Hotline, the national reuse program for plastic loose fill.
Packing peanuts are loose-fill packing material that is used to prevent damage to fragile objects during a move or shipping process. They are shaped to interlock when compressed and free flow when not. They are roughly the size and shape of a peanut and usually made of polystyrene.
An advantage of packing peanuts as void-fill packaging for shipping or moving product is that they are very light and easy to use. They provide protection delicate items, but they are better then other moving supplies in that they will fill in and form in empty areas in your moving boxes. Peanuts surround and cushion contents on all sides offering complete shipment protection. It’s cost effective, extremely high yield, unlimited storage life, and has low density for reduced transportation costs.
Packaging Peanuts comes in three basic colors, which helps to distinguish them from one another. The green version is environmentally friendly, indicating that the product was made from at least 70 percent recycled content. White peanuts are the most common, and the white indicates that the product is at least 70 percent raw (non-recycled) material. A small percentage of these peanuts are pink, which means they have been treated with a chemical to prevent static cling. This is useful when shipping electronics or other intricate objects.