Packing Peanuts Are Not Recyclable
Packing peanuts, which are made from plastic #6, never biodegrade. Because they are so light, they are also difficult to contain. They often fly out of the trash as well as landfills, contaminating the environment.
If you have to use packing peanuts, try to pick the green ones. Some are made from recycled materials, and some are starch-based and biodegradable. The pink and white ones are made from 70 percent raw materials and won’t break down.
Alternative Ways to Recycle
Recycle With Home for Foam
Ways to Reduce
Use Paper Instead
Rather than purchasing packing peanuts, use a more sustainable alternative to protect your shipped items, like paper or newspaper that was headed for the recycling. Try reusing shredded paper, which is difficult to recycle.
Packing Boxes With Mushrooms
Replace your packaging with a green alternative: Ecovative Design has developed bricks of organic waste that are injected with mushroom spores. They are biodegradable and will decompose in a month, unlike foam, which cannot fully biodegrade.
Ways to Reuse
Save for Next Time
Packing peanuts are easily reusable. Just save them and next time you ship something that needs protection, use the packing peanuts again.
Reuse Foam at Home
Use foam to refill cushions or stuffed animals that have lost their loft. You can also use foam to line the bottom of your potted plants—you won’t need as much soil and it will allow water to drain easily.
Take Them to a Mail Store
Some mailing stores will accept packing peanuts and other packing materials for drop-off. However, it depends on policies and current supply, so call ahead to ask.