Packing Peanuts: Best Choices for Your Business

U-Haul Biodegradable Packing Peanuts for Moving

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You might overlook something as seemingly inconsequential as packing peanuts in the hustle and bustle of running a small business. However, these little items are critical in keeping your products safe during transit. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about packing peanuts, from their history and types to their environmental impact, and even how to choose the right kind for your business.

What are Packing Peanuts?

Packing peanuts were first introduced in the late 1960s, offering a lightweight and effective solution for protecting items during shipping. They are specifically designed to cushion and secure products, filling in the gaps in boxes and packages to prevent the jostling of goods during transport.

The making of packing peanuts is a fascinating process. They are made by expanding polystyrene, a kind of plastic, into a foam state, then cutting it into small peanut-like shapes. The final product is lightweight, white (though they can be colored), and incredibly effective in providing package protection.

Packing peanuts are crucial in mitigating the impact of rough handling during the transit of fragile items. The hollow, tube-like structure of the peanuts interlocks to form a protective cocoon around the goods, distributing and absorbing shocks effectively.

Besides the conventional polystyrene ones, there are now biodegradable and eco-friendly versions available in the market. These are often green and dissolve in water, reducing environmental impact.

These innovative strides in packing peanut technology signify the evolution of packaging materials with a nod to environmental consciousness.

Types of Packing Peanuts

There are mainly two types of packing peanuts that have gained popularity in the shipping and moving industry: Styrofoam packing peanuts and biodegradable packing peanuts.


Styrofoam, a brand-name version of polystyrene foam, is the more traditional option. These packing peanuts are lightweight, cheap, and protect your stock during transit. They are water-resistant, making them suitable for goods that might be exposed to damp conditions. However, the downside of Styrofoam packing peanuts lies in their environmental impact. These peanuts are not biodegradable, taking hundreds, if not thousands, of years to break down in a landfill.


As more businesses are moving towards sustainable options, biodegradable packing peanuts are becoming increasingly popular. They are made from organic materials such as cornstarch, wheat, or sorghum. When exposed to water, they dissolve, leaving no harmful residue. They offer similar protection to Styrofoam peanuts and, despite being slightly more expensive, they align with an eco-conscious business model.


Packing Peanuts: Our Top Picks for Small Businesses

In selecting packing peanuts for our product recommendations, we carefully evaluate several key criteria to ensure that we recommend options that are not only effective in protecting items during shipping but also considerate of environmental impact and storage needs. Here’s a guide to the key criteria we use for choosing the best packing peanuts:

  1. Cushioning and Protection:
    • Scale of Importance: 9/10
    • The primary function of packing peanuts is to provide cushioning and protection for items during transit. We look for peanuts that maintain their shape and offer consistent protection.
  2. Environmental Impact:
    • Scale of Importance: 8/10
    • We prioritize environmentally friendly options, such as biodegradable or recyclable packing peanuts, to minimize the ecological footprint.
  3. Compatibility with Various Products:
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • The packing peanuts should be suitable for a wide range of products, ensuring versatility in use.
  4. Dust and Residue:
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • Minimal dust and residue are important to keep products clean and reduce cleanup time.
  5. Static Reduction:
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • Non-static peanuts are preferred, especially for shipping electronic items, as they prevent static buildup that can damage sensitive components.
  6. Cost-Effectiveness:
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • We balance the cost with the effectiveness and environmental impact, aiming for options that offer good value for money.
  7. Storage and Handling:
    • Scale of Importance: 6/10
    • Packing peanuts should be easy to handle and store, taking up minimal space when not in use.
  8. Brand Reputation and Quality Assurance:
    • Scale of Importance: 6/10
    • We consider brands known for producing high-quality packing materials to ensure reliability and consistency.
  9. Weight and Shipping Costs:
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • Lightweight packing peanuts are preferable as they don’t significantly add to shipping weight and costs.
  10. Size and Shape Variability:
    • Scale of Importance: 6/10
    • A variety of sizes and shapes can be beneficial for fitting into different packaging configurations and providing optimal protection.

These criteria guide our selection of packing peanuts, ensuring that we recommend products that are effective in protecting shipped items, environmentally responsible, and cost-efficient.


Secure Seal Biodegradable Anti Static Peanuts

1,2 Cu Ft White Packing Peanuts Popcorn S shape Loose Fill

Secure Seal offers eco-friendly and effective packaging solutions with Biodegradable White Packing Loosefill Anti Static Peanuts. This product has a 7 Cubic Feet volume, ideal for safely shipping and packing a range of items. These packing peanuts provide superior cushioning and protection for your items and are also crafted from natural plant starch, making them nontoxic and completely biodegradable. These peanuts dissolve harmlessly in water and are static-free.

Product features:

  • 7 Cubic Feet (also available in 1, 2, 3.5, and 14 cubic feet)
  • Color: White
  • 11 Pounds
  • Material: Natural plant starch (biodegradable and non-toxic)
  • Water-soluble, Anti-static, Provides shock-absorbent cushioning

Secure Seal Biodegradable Loosefill

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U-Haul Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

U-Haul, the infamous rental and moving company, has its own brand of biodegradable peanuts. They are reusable and non-toxic and come in bags of 1.5 cu. ft each.

Product Features:

  • Made from potato and cornstarch
  • Dissolvable, non-toxic, and anti-static
  • Minimum of 1.5 cu. ft. per bag

U-Haul Biodegradable Peanuts

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Bubblefast Bulk Anti Static Packing Peanuts

Bubblefast Brand 35 cu. ft. (225 gallons) Pink Anti Static Packing Peanuts

As we all know, often buying in bulk can save big bucks in the long run. Bubblefast offers this 35 cu. ft. bag of pink anti-static peanuts. That’s 225 gallons! If you plan to do a lot of shipping, this generous amount will keep you supplied and save you some money.

Product Features:

  • 35 cu. ft. (225 gallons) of S-shaped peanuts
  • 1o bags
  • Not water soluble
  • Can be used for planting, chair filling, and shipping
  • Color: Pink

Bubblefast Brand Bulk Anti Static Peanuts

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StarBoxes White Regular Loose Fill Shipping Peanuts


StarBoxes peanuts, offering a volume of 22.5 gallons or approximately three cubic feet, contribute to secure and stable packaging. Crafted from lightweight polyethylene, they efficiently mitigate the risk of product shifting during transit.

Product Features:

  • Shape: S-shaped for stable packing
  • Size: 22.5 Gallons or Approximately 3 Cubic Feet
  • Material: Polyethylene, lightweight and durable
  • Dimensions: Each peanut measures 1.75 x 0.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Color: White

StarBoxes White Regular Loose Fill Shipping  Peanuts

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FunPak Plant Based Biodegradable Packing Peanuts


FunPak offers plant-based, biodegradable packing peanuts that add an environmentally friendly yet fun touch to your packaging. The peanuts, constructed from starch-based materials, come in fun shapes like shamrocks and hearts. With a volume of 1.5 cubic feet per bag, they offer ample filling for your packing needs. An added benefit is their water-soluble nature, which leaves no harmful residues and makes disposal easy and guilt-free.

Product Features:

  • Shape/Color: Lots of shapes and colors available
  • Volume: 1.5 cubic feet per bag
  • Brand: Bubblefast!
  • Material: Starch-based, eco-friendly, and sustainable
  • Features: Water-soluble, leaves no harmful residue
  • Certification: Certified as eco-friendly

FunPak Plant Based Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

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MT Products EPS White Packing Peanuts for Shipping


These recyclable peanuts  come in a sealed bag that measures 12.5 inches in all dimensions, containing enough material to fill a small-sized carton. These peanuts are not only sturdy and reliable, resisting crumbling or tearing, but they’re also versatile, serving as lightweight foam peanuts for crafting or lightening potted plants by replacing heavy soil.


  • Size: Approximately 0.60 Cubic Feet (Bag Measures 12.5″ x 12.5″ x 7″)
  • Material: EPS (Recyclable)
  • Color: White
  • Benefits: Prevents breakage during transit, sturdy, lightweight, and versatile.

MT Products EPS White Packing Peanuts for Shipping

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MWS Loose Fill Packing Peanuts

These popcorn-style loose fill peanuts provide half a cubic foot of material that expertly cushions package contents from all sides, ensuring optimal protection. Crafted from polystyrene, these peanuts possess a resilience to temperature fluctuations and are waterproof. Plus, these packing peanuts are 100% recyclable, which aids in minimizing environmental impact.

Product Features:

  • Material: Polystyrene
  • Size: 1/2 Cubic Foot (12″ x 6″ x 12″ bag)
  • Color: White
  • Resistant to temperature changes, waterproof, and 100% recyclable.

MWS Loose Fill Packing Peanuts

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DMSE Packing Peanuts Shipping

DMSE Wholesale provides 1/2 cubic foot of Anti Static No Stick Packing Peanuts, designed for your optimal packaging needs. These S-Shape loose fill peanuts are not just recyclable, they also incorporate an anti-static feature, ensuring a hassle-free experience as they won’t stick to your fingers. Their dust-free property ensures a clean packing environment while their shape easily fills gaps in your packaging, offering a more secure and protected package.

Product Features:

  • Loose Fill
  • 1/2 Cubic Foot (16″ x 10″ x 6″ bag)
  • Color: Pink
  • 100% Recyclable, Anti-static (won’t stick to fingers), Dust-free, Fills gaps easily.

DMSE Packing Peanuts Shipping

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BOX USA Shipping & Packing Peanuts White, 7 Cubic Feet

These white, loose-fill peanuts are made from annually renewable, starch-based resources, showcasing a commitment to sustainability. They exhibit remarkable features such as disintegrating in water and leaving no harmful residues behind, contributing to environmental friendliness. In addition, these peanuts are dust-free, anti-static, and abrasion-resistant, ensuring a clean, hassle-free, and durable packing experience.

Product Features:

  • Size: 7 Cubic Feet
  • Material: Starch-based (Annually renewable resources)
  • Color: White
  • Disintegrates in water, leaves no harmful residue, is dust-free, anti-static, and abrasion-resistant.

BOX USA Shipping & Packing Peanuts White, 7 Cubic Feet

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Bubblefast! Brand 3.5 cu. ft. Pink Anti-Static Packing Peanuts


Bubblefast presents its distinctive pink packing peanuts, boasting a volume of 3.5 cubic feet or 22.5 gallons. These anti-static peanuts are made from 100% recycled material and contribute to environmental sustainability while ensuring optimal packing security. The peanuts’ unique “S” shape interlocks to form a robust cushion that reliably protects your packages. Beyond packing, these versatile peanuts can be used to fill bean bag chairs and, due to their water-insoluble nature, they can also serve as lightweight fillers in planters.

Product Features:

  • Size: 3.5 cubic feet (22.5 gallons)
  • Material: EPS (100% Recycled Material)
  • Color: Pink
  • Can be used in bean bag chairs and planters, anti-static, not water-soluble.

Bubblefast! Brand 3.5 cu. ft. Pink Anti-Static Packing Peanuts

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Disposing and Recycling Packing Peanuts

After your customers unpack their goods, the peanuts don’t have to end up in the trash. There are ways to responsibly dispose of both types of packing peanuts.

How to Dispose of Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

While Styrofoam peanuts can’t be tossed in your regular recycling bin, they can be reused or taken to a specialized recycling facility. Many shipping stores will gladly accept used Styrofoam peanuts. So, before throwing them away, encourage your customers to check if a local store can reuse them.

How to Dispose of Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

Biodegradable packing peanuts are much easier to dispose of. They can be composted, used in gardening, or simply dissolved in water and washed down the drain. Remember to inform your customers about these options, contributing to the collective effort of reducing waste.

Benefits of Proper Packaging

Choosing the right packaging, including packing peanuts, can significantly impact your business’s success. It’s not just about protecting the items during transit; it’s also about showing your customers that you care about their purchases and the environment.

Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

Packaging that effectively protects a customer’s purchase can increase customer satisfaction. There’s nothing more disappointing than receiving a damaged item. High-quality packing peanuts can help prevent this.

The Importance of Eco-friendly Options

You show your customers that you’re committed to sustainability by opting for eco-friendly options like biodegradable packing peanuts. This can improve your company’s image and even attract new customers who prioritize environmentally friendly businesses.

A Competitive Edge: High-quality Packaging as a Moving Tool

Lastly, the quality of your packaging can give you a competitive edge. If a customer is deciding between two companies offering similar products, your commitment to secure, high-quality, and eco-friendly packaging could be the deciding factor.

In the end, choosing the right packing peanuts and other packaging supplies is an important business decision. By considering factors like the type of products you ship, your shipment volume, and your environmental stance, you can choose to benefit both your business and your customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I reuse packing peanuts?

Yes, you can! Both Styrofoam and biodegradable packing peanuts can be reused. They are durable and retain their shape after many uses, making them a sustainable choice for multiple shipments.

How are biodegradable packing peanuts made?

Biodegradable packing peanuts are made from natural, plant-based materials such as cornstarch or wheat. These materials are processed and expanded into a foam, which is then shaped into peanuts. The end product is light, cushioning, and environmentally friendly.

Can packing peanuts be harmful to pets or children if ingested?

Styrofoam packing peanuts can be a choking hazard for both pets and children, and they aren’t digestible. Biodegradable packing peanuts are safer in this regard. While they aren’t a food item and shouldn’t be ingested on purpose, they are non-toxic and will dissolve in water, reducing the risk if accidentally swallowed.


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Small Business Editor Liane Lonergan is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and a member of the team for 2 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Communications and is a former English teacher. She has written news articles and essays throughout her collegiate and professional careers.