Industrial Packaging Spotlight: The Foam Peanut

The delicious foam peanut, a modern marvel of packaging engineering, is not only great at keeping all your goods safe, but may also work as a salad topping. How many other packaging solutions can you say that about?

The foam peanut, or packing peanut, has been available commercially since the mid-1960’s. Its shape was specially designed so that the peanuts would interlock when compressed and act as a shock absorber. When used properly, this ensures that the goods they surround are packed securely for the long haul to their final destination.

Originally made of expanded polystyrene foam, increasing environmental concerns led to the rollout of biodegradable alternatives to the foam peanut. Today, some brands of this type of packaging are made from corn starch and grain sorghum. That means that yes, it’s technically safe to sprinkle some on your nachos or let your pets run wild with them. However, because these velvety packing nuggets weren’t made under FDA approved food safety conditions, it’s not recommended that you make a regular meal of them. They also don’t contain much nutritional value, alas.

Here’s a fun experiment that illustrates the differences between how polystyrene and biodegradable packing peanuts break down over time:

Fun, innovative and functional packaging solutions are always on our minds at Ohio Valley Goodwill. We provide meaningful employment for individuals with disabilities, and that gives us a unique competitive advantage. All of our items are packaged by hand, and our teams are more dedicated and pay greater attention to detail because they actually want to work.

We’re always happy to speak with you about which packaging solutions are right for your business. Be sure to contact us to discuss your options.