Packaging Service History: The Foam Peanut

As packaging leaders, Ohio Valley Goodwill’s Cincinnati team is familiar with what makes for a safe delivery. A more snug packaging configuration can help prevent frowns when popping open a cardboard box. For decades now, there has been an unsung hero that has worked hard to get your packages delivered in one piece. Yes, we’re talking about the humble foam peanut.

Or the packing peanut. Or styrofoam popcorn. Or packing noodles. Or whatever its new name is. True, there may be more than one name, but we all know what we’re talking about here: that small polystyrene piece that keeps your stuff safe. Whatever you call them, these are valued filler materials to keep precious cargo intact. All of that jostling and movement on the airplane or truck is absorbed and mitigated by the foam peanut.
Resilience equals staying power
Before fillers like the foam peanut, other more natural choices included hay and wood shavings. Newspapers were next in line, but these would become flat over time and not provide enough support. Enter the foam peanut. Made commercially available in 1965 from Dow Chemical, they provided dual benefits: strength and light weight. They’re light enough not to weigh a package down, yet strong enough not to collapse or crumble during shipping.
A more eco-friendly future
As far as performance went, the foam peanut had a pretty stellar record. Zero complaints… except for when people started noticing how much landfill space these little things were taking up. With that, a movement began to do something a little more eco-friendly. Biodegradable materials started taking the place of polystyrene and recycled materials were utilized. Also introduced were cornstarch peanuts, which are totally biodegradable. While polystyrene peanuts are still being used, there’s no doubt that an effort is underway to have a kinder, friendlier peanut zooming around the world.

Your packaging provider

If you are looking for a way to outsource your packaging operations, call on Ohio Valley Goodwill’s team in Cincinnati to assist. We will work with your business or group to provide the packaging solutions you need. Call the Ohio Valley Goodwill Industrial Services Division today to get your packaging operation up to speed in no time.