Packing Peanuts and Styrofoam Alternative

7 September 2022 Shares

Home Cardboard recycling Packing Peanuts and Styrofoam Alternative

By Recycling.com/ 7 September 2022 Shares

Packing Peanuts and Styrofoam Alternative

What is the best eco-friendly and cost-saving alternative for polystyrene packaging, such as packing peanuts and packing foam? We believe that your cardboard waste is a perfect substitute for styrofoam packaging. With a cardboard shredder, you repurpose old cardboard boxes and other corrugated packaging materials as free and eco-friendly packing material.

Perforated cardboard that is extracted from the cardboard shredder, is perfect to use as wrapping material, padding material, or protective cushioning void fill material. Read more about cardboard shredders or read more about packing peanuts and eco-friendly alternatives below.

Cardboard-mono-filling-packaging-material
Cardboard mono filling material

Cardboard is the best alternative to styrofoam packaging materials

What can you use instead of packing peanuts, styrofoam blocks, or even bubble wrap? You can buy biodegradable alternatives, but these packing materials are more expensive. A more eco-friendly and economical way is to just reuse your cardboard as packing material.

packaging-material-peanuts-cardboard-chips
Plastic peanuts or cardboard chips?

Most (e-commerce) stores or shipping departments also have to deal with cardboard waste. The material takes up valuable space and costs money to collect from your local waste carrier.

Instead of throwing away your cardboard boxes and cardboard packing materials, you can repurpose them with the use of a cardboard shredder.

how-to-shred-cardboard-with-hsm-cardboard-shredder

Cardboard is a natural material made from wood fibers, making it 100% recyclable. This material is a perfect, sustainable and free substitute for packing peanuts, foam, and other expanded polystyrene loose fill. But how can scrap cardboard be used as packing material?

A cardboard shredding machine is a device that converts cardboard sheets into flexible padding material that has the same protective features as styrofoam.

You can use the shredded cardboard for wrapping products or as a void-filling material inside the box.

convert-cardboard-waste-into-eco-friendly-packing-material

Cardboard packing materials are environmentally friendly and reduce the cost of waste hauling. It also makes it easier for your customer to discard the packaging material since both the box and the padding are made of one type of material.

Using cardboard as packaging also boosts your company’s sustainable image. Consumers are increasingly in demand for sustainable packaging and do really appreciate it when they receive a product that is free from unnecessary plastic packaging.

Tip: If you are also looking for a cardboard shredder from HSM , this article “ProfiPack C400 vs. P425” might be helpful for you.

 

What are packing peanuts made of?

Packing peanuts or foam packaging materials are made of Expanded Polystyrene or EPS for short. EPS is the expanded form of polystyrene (PS), which is a synthetic polymer. The material is made from petroleum, which is a non-sustainable resource.

_packing material - peanuts

The expanded and extruded form of polystyrene is about 40 times the size of the original polystyrene bead. This makes styrofoam products lightweight and it gives the material insulating properties.

Why avoid packing peanuts as packing material?

Why is it important to cut down on styrofoam packing? In the first place because of its negative environmental impact. The material impacts wildlife, waterways, and other natural resources when it’s not disposed of in the correct way.

packing-peanutes-styrofoam-material

Foam packaging are top sources of litter, according to the DEC. The materials break apart easily, don’t biodegrade rapidly and can linger in the environment for a long time.

When polystyrene foam, such as packing peanuts, ends up in our environment it will basically never go away. It will break apart over time, and will eventually end up as microplastics.

Secondly, countries and states around the world are beginning to ban the use of expanded polystyrene as a single-use plastic or as a packing material. New York State adopted a statewide Foam Ban in 2020 on expanded polystyrene. Expected is that more and more countries and states will also adopt a similar ban.

packing-peanuts-cardboard

Lastly, styrofoam material is lightweight but also bulky. This makes the material an expensive and polluting material to transport. Waste haulers collecting styrofoam waste from their clients are basically transporting air, because EPS is a 40 times expanded form of the original EP plastic.

Can styrofoam be recycled?

Yes, styrofoam is a waste material that can be recycled. But the material has to be source separated and clean to be recycled properly.

The recycling rates of styrofoam really differ per country. According to a study done by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, only 0.8% of polystyrene is recycled.

 

Approximately 1369 tons of styrofoam are buried in US landfills every day. The material fills up 25 to 30 percent of landfill space globally.


Resources: