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Recycling Packing Peanuts – The Definitive Guide

By October 10, 2023No Comments

Are you tired of finding yourself with bags of packing peanuts after every online shopping spree? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. These little foam wonders have a way of multiplying like rabbits. But instead of throwing them away, why not consider recycling them? Recycling packing peanuts is not only an environmentally friendly choice, but it can also help you declutter your home and reduce waste. In this definitive guide, we will take you through the steps and best practices for recycling packing peanuts. So let’s dive in and find out how you can give these pesky peanuts a new lease on life!

Types of Packing Peanuts

Before we jump into recycling methods, let’s first familiarize ourselves with the different types of packing peanuts commonly found in packaging:

  • Polystyrene (EPS) Peanuts: These are the traditional white peanuts that we often encounter. They are lightweight, durable, and provide excellent cushioning.
  • Biodegradable Peanuts: Made from organic materials such as cornstarch, these peanuts are designed to break down more easily in natural environments.

Reuse: Passing Them On

One of the simplest ways to recycle packing peanuts is by reusing them. If they are clean and in good condition, consider passing them on to someone who may need them. You can:

  • Donate to Local Businesses: Many local businesses, such as shipping stores or packaging services, gladly accept clean packing peanuts for reuse.
  • Share with Friends and Family: Spread the packing peanut love by offering them to friends and family members who frequently ship items.

Recycling: The Proper Way

If reusing is not an option, it’s time to recycle your packing peanuts. Here are some best practices to ensure they are recycled properly:

  1. Contact Local Recycling Centers: Reach out to your local recycling centers or waste management facilities to see if they accept packing peanuts for recycling. Some centers may have specific drop-off locations or guidelines to follow.
  2. Separate Materials: Before recycling, separate different types of packing peanuts. EPS peanuts can be recycled with other polystyrene products, while biodegradable peanuts typically require a separate recycling process.
  3. Bagging and Securing: Place the packing peanuts in a sturdy bag to prevent them from scattering. Tie the bag securely to ensure safe transportation.
  4. Check with Retailers: Certain retailers may also accept packing peanuts for recycling. Call your local shipping stores or packaging supply shops to inquire about their recycling policies.

Composting Biodegradable Peanuts

If you have biodegradable packing peanuts made from organic materials, consider composting them. Here’s how:

  1. Check for Compostability: Confirm that the peanuts are certified as compostable by looking for relevant labels or certifications. Not all biodegradable packing peanuts are suitable for composting.
  2. Break Them Down: If the peanuts are oversized, break them down into smaller pieces to speed up the composting process.
  3. Mix with Compost: Add the biodegradable packing peanuts to your compost pile, mixing them well with other organic materials. Ensure a good balance of “greens” (nitrogen-rich materials) and “browns” (carbon-rich materials) for optimal composting.

Remember, composting may not be the best option if you don’t have a compost pile or if your municipal composting facility doesn’t accept biodegradable peanuts. In such cases, check the recycling options available in your area.


Recycling packing peanuts doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By reusing them or recycling them properly, you can contribute to a more sustainable future while keeping your home clutter-free. Remember to check local resources and guidelines to ensure you’re recycling responsibly. Let’s all do our part in reducing waste and protecting the environment, one packing peanut at a time!