How to Recycle Packing Peanuts: 10 Effective Ways to Save the Environment

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Packing peanuts are small pieces of polystyrene foam used to fill space in packaging. They are often white or light-colored, varying in size from about 1/8 to 1/2 inch. Peanuts are relatively inexpensive and lightweight, providing good cushioning for fragile items.

However, they cannot be easy to remove from packages, and they are not eco-friendly. As a result, many people prefer to use alternative packing materials, such as bubble wrap or paper.

Packing peanuts are a necessary evil. We all know they’re bulky and take up a lot of space, but they’re essential for preventing our delicate items from being damaged in the mail. There are a bunch of purposes for recycling packing peanuts.

disposal of packing peanuts
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For starters, they’re made from recyclable materials like plastics and Styrofoam. They occupy a large volume in the rubbish heap, so recycling them can free up much free space. Fortunately, there are a few ways to recycle packing peanuts so that they don’t take up space in our landfills. Let’s check out some of your options!

How to Recycle Packing Peanuts?

Packing peanuts, also known as Styrofoam peanuts, are commonly used to fill empty spaces in boxes and packaging. Here are some methods for recycling packing peanuts.

Uboxes Packing Peanuts White 3.5 cuft
  • Material: Polystyrene
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 180 x 15 x 29 inches
  • Color: White
  • Item Weight: 1 Pound

1. Check with your local post office

The United States Postal Service (USPS) accepts packing peanuts for reuse. Peanuts that are clean and dry can be taken to your local post office or dropped off at a postal collection site. The USPS will then use the peanuts to pack and ship packages.

2. Donate to a local business

Many businesses reuse packing peanuts. You can check with your local grocery store, hardware store, or shipping company to see if they would be interested in taking your packing peanuts off your hands.

3. Take them to a packaging store

Some stores specialize in packaging and shipping supplies. These stores often accept packing peanuts for reuse.

4. Recycle them

Packing peanuts can be re-processed, but you need to check with your nearest local recycling center to see if they accept this material. Peanuts made from Styrofoam can usually be recycled, but those made from other materials, such as biodegradable peanuts, may not be accepted.

5. Compost them

Packing peanuts made from biodegradable materials can be composted. However, peanuts made from Styrofoam will not break down in a compost bin.

6. Make your packing peanuts

You can make your packing peanuts at home using cornstarch and water. This type of packing peanut is biodegradable and can be composted.

7. For decoration

This is another option to reuse the packing peanuts. For example, packing peanuts make an excellent filling if you have old pillows or stuffed animals that need new stuffing.

You can also use them to fill a jar, pitcher vases, or other containers for decoration.

8. Use them as plant markers

You can use packing peanuts as plant markers if you have a garden. I mentioned the plant’s name on the peanut with a permanent marker and stuck it in the ground next to the plant.

9. Make a stress ball

Packing peanuts can also be used to make stress balls. Put a handful of peanuts into a balloon, knot the end of the balloon, and you’re done!

10. Donate them to an art class

If you know someone who teaches art, they may be able to use packing peanuts in their classes. Peanuts can be used to create sculptures or other three-dimensional art projects.

Finally, if you cannot recycle or reuse your packing peanuts, dispose of them in the trash. However, prevent throwing them away outdoors, as this can pollute the environment and harm wildlife. With a little effort, it is easy to recycle packing peanuts instead of simply throwing them away.

Pros & Cons of Packing Peanuts


  • Packing peanuts are made from recyclable materials like plastics and styrofoam.
  • They can take up a lot of landfill space, so recycling them can free up some much-needed room.
  • Packing peanuts provide good cushioning for fragile items.
  • They are relatively inexpensive and lightweight.
  • The United States Postal Service (USPS) accepts these packing peanuts for reuse.


  • Packing peanuts can be difficult to remove from packages.
  • They are not biodegradable, so they can pollute the environment if not disposed of properly.
  • Some people are sensitive to packing peanuts.
  • Packing peanuts can be asphyxiation in small children.
  • There is a risk of fire if packing peanuts are placed near an open flame.


That’s all there is to it! Now that you know how to recycle packing peanuts put them to good use the next time you receive a delivery. You can also use packing peanuts as filling for bean bag chairs or pet beds.

If you have any other creative ideas on recycling packing peanuts, let us know in the comments section below!


Is it safe to dissolve packing peanuts?

Packing peanuts are made from polystyrene, which is soft and pliable. It can release harmful toxins into the air when heating. For this reason, it is not safe to dissolve packing peanuts in warm water.

Are packing peanuts safe to eat?

Packing peanuts are not safe to eat. They are made from a pliable material called plastic. Ingesting large amounts of polystyrene can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea and pain in the stomach.

Are packing peanuts bad for the environment?

Packing peanuts are not biodegradable so they can take up landfill space. Moreover, many packing peanuts are made from a type of pliable material called polystyrene.
When it is burned, it releases harmful poison into the air. For these reasons, packing peanuts can be bad for the environment.

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