Thoughts For the Greater Good Previous Thought Next Thought

Some Things Make Obvious Sense…

Like packing peanuts made of vegetable starch.

I’m sure we can all agree that packing peanuts are an awful necessity. If you’re like me you probably hate having to dispose of annoying styrofoam peanuts, and feel guilty that they may end up sitting in a landfill forever or killing animals.

I was blown away one day when I received a product I’d purchased online cushioned in peanuts made of vegetable starch. They were so like the usual stuff, that I only realized the difference because of a small note at the bottom of my receipt. It went like this:

“…we have chosen to use packing material that is made of 100% vegetable starch. This allows it to dissolve completely when it comes into contact with water. Unlike some packing materials, ours is completely non-toxic and environmentally friendly.”

Of course I immediately grabbed a handful and headed to the nearest sink to put this to the test. In a matter of SECONDS the peanuts were gone…

I looked online…this stuff is not hard to find. Google “cornstarch peanuts”, and see for yourself.

So here is my question: if cornstarch packing peanuts are so EASILY available, then why the heck is styrofoam still being used? I’m embarrassed that I hadn’t heard about this before. Call me crazy, but I think this is a pretty big deal, especially considering how many of us are shopping online these days, and having our goodies shipped to us in styrofoam packing.

For those of you out there who are graphic designers, the products you design are often shipped from printers and manufacturers in styrofoam peanuts. Please pass the word on to your clients, and if you can, request that your vendors switch to the vegetable starch stuff.

This is a no-brainer!

Susan Isaacs

Susan’s a multitask-er who prides herself on the vast number of things (read: loose papers and coffee cups) on her desk at any one time, and yet she still manages to keep an eye on all the moving parts at Paragon.


3 thoughts on “Some Things Make Obvious Sense…

  1. I thought I’d play the “devil’s advocate” and explain that the reason people aren’t using them is because they aren’t cost effective, but this isn’t the case at all. The regular “footprint unfriendly” packing peanuts are $1.72 per cubic foot, as compared to the cornstarch variety, which are $1.50 per cubic foot. Now it really is a no-brainer!

  2. Susan Isaacs says:

    I just find it crazy that no-body knows about this stuff. I’ve asked a ton of people if they’d ever heard about this, and no-one had. Even if it was a bit more expensive it would be worth it…but for it to be cheaper and still not used is ridiculous!

  3. Settia says:

    Where there is most impact in reducing polystyrene peanuts is with major retailers/catalog retailers that ship hundreds or thousands of products per day. Unfortunately starch (potato/vegetable) is not a viable option. One: on that scale, it is more expensive and two, there are limitations in regards to weather (excessive heat melts them) and rodents, which is a major problem. I like starch based peanuts but again, they are not a viable product for a large scale operation. Fortunately, there are other great options, such as paper-based (with high recycled content) loose-fill or packing material. Regardless, I do think it is imperative for consumers to continue to vocally express their dislike of the polystyrene peanuts to show these brands that using this material is unacceptable and will discourage them from shopping with these brands.

Comments are closed.