How to Dispose of Starch Packing Peanuts (A Complete Guide)

If you’ve ever ordered something online and had it shipped to your home, you’ve received a package filled with packing peanuts. These little Styrofoam balls protect delicate items during shipping, but what do you do with them once the item has been delivered? If you’re not sure how to dispose of starch packing peanuts, don’t worry! We’re here to help.

What Are Packing Peanuts Made From?

Packing peanuts are most often made of nonrenewable polystyrene, also known as plastic foam, or a biodegradable vegetable starch base. Depending on the material used to make them, the available disposal options change.

How to Dispose of Starch Packing Peanuts

Biodegradable vs. Standard Packing Peanuts

The first step in knowing how to dispose of packing peanuts is understanding what type of packing peanuts you have. There are two primary types of packing peanuts: biodegradable and standard.

If you don’t know which type of packing peanut was used in your package, there’s a quick and easy way to test it. Place the packing peanut under running water. If the peanut dissolves, it’s biodegradable; if it doesn’t, it’s a standard polystyrene foam peanut.

How to Dispose of Starch Packing Peanuts?

1. Reusing

The first option for removing packing peanuts is to reuse them for a different package. Both biodegradable and Styrofoam packing materials may be reused to minimize landfill waste.

If you don’t need the box for another purpose, or if you’ll be shipping something else soon, reusing it is a good option. Furthermore, you may save money on shipping by not purchasing new products to send out.

2. Dissolving

If you have biodegradable packing peanuts, the easiest way to dispose of them is to dissolve them in water. To do this, place the packing peanuts in a container of warm water and wait for them to break down. Once they’ve dissolved, you can flush them down the drain.

Use warm water, as cold water will not cause the packing peanuts to dissolve as quickly. Also, don’t use hot water, as it could damage the container or piping.

3. Composting

Another option for disposing of biodegradable packing peanuts is composting them. However, before composting packing peanuts, you’ll need to make sure they’re made of organic material like cornstarch or potatoes.

To compost packing peanuts, add them to your compost pile or bin and other organic materials. Once they’ve broken down, you can use the compost in your garden or yard.

4. Recycling

If you have standard polystyrene packing peanuts, recycling is the best option for disposal. However, it’s important to note that not all recycling centers accept packing peanuts.

Before packing peanuts, call your local recycling center to see if they’ll accept them. Place the packing peanuts in a bag and drop them off at the center if they do.

If your local recycling center doesn’t accept packing peanuts, you can try a few other options. First, check with shipping stores in your area to see if they’ll take them. If not, you can always reuse the packing peanuts or throw them away in the trash.

Are starch packing peanuts good for the environment?

Starch packaging peanuts that are biodegradable can degrade in a few days or even hours without leaving any toxic residues, so they aren’t harmful to the environment. They don’t fill landfills and are safe enough to eat for people, animals, and marine life. Even if you or your child ate them by mistake, you would be fine.

Furthermore, while they are often just as effective, shipping with them instead of Styrofoam packing peanuts is more environmentally friendly. They also need fewer resources to produce, and the entire process causes less pollution. They don’t generate any cancer-causing or hazardous emissions, unlike those produced by Styrofoam peanuts.

Are packing peanuts toxic to dogs?

It’s rare for a dog to choke on packing biodegradable peanuts. It’s not likely that a vehicle accident is the cause of your dog choking on packing peanuts unless they were non-biodegradable. “Safe for your family, pets, and the environment” is how the industry characterizes them. An upset stomach would be about all you could expect.

The Bottom Line

While packing peanuts is a convenient way to ship items, they can be difficult to dispose of properly. However, with a little knowledge and effort, you can easily pack peanuts without harming the environment. Just remember to reuse, recycle, or compost whenever possible! Thanks for reading, and we hope this was helpful.


Do packing peanuts dissolve in the washing machine?

Packing peanuts can dissolve in the washing machine, but it’s not recommended. The packing peanuts can clog your washing machine and cause damage to the plumbing. If you decide to wash items with packing peanuts, be sure to remove them before putting the things in the dryer.

Are packing peanuts biodegradable?

Yes, packing peanuts that are made from cornstarch or potatoes are biodegradable. These packing peanuts will break down over time and won’t harm the environment. However, non-biodegradable packing peanuts made from Styrofoam can be harmful to the environment and should be disposed of properly.

Can I put packing peanuts in the garbage?

Packing peanuts can be thrown in the garbage, but it’s not the best option. Non-biodegradable packing peanuts made from Styrofoam can take hundreds of years to decompose and fill up landfills. If possible, recycle or compost packing peanuts instead of throwing them in the garbage.

What are some other uses for packing peanuts?

Packing peanuts have a variety of uses, such as filling gaps in boxes when shipping items, crafting, and even soundproofing. You can also reuse packing peanuts by giving them to someone else who is shipping items or using them for your future shipments. Thanks for reading! We hope this was helpful.

Additional Contents: