Are Packing Peanuts Still a Thing?

You may or may not have noticed that the days of packing peanuts being the primary fill in packaging seem to have passed us by. There was a time when just about every package that was delivered was protected with packing peanuts, but now you’re more likely to see inflated plastic, bubble wrap or paper products.

So, what led to the decline in usage of packing peanuts, and are they even used at all anymore? Here’s a quick overview.

Why are packing peanuts so bad?

There are a few reasons why packing peanuts are no longer used to the same extent they once were, but the biggest reason is their environmental impact in Los Angeles, CA and beyond. Traditional packing peanuts are made out of a polystyrene foam, which contains cancer-causing chemicals that can, in some circumstances, actually affect the products they’re holding, making them potentially dangerous to consumers.

In addition, when packing peanuts get sent to landfills, they could become a threat to waterways and natural ecosystems, making them a threat to the health of both people and animals.

There are natural, “green” peanuts that are made from at least 70 percent recycled materials, but production of these peanuts is much more expensive than the approach involved with traditional packing peanuts. As a result, consumers and suppliers have generally chosen to opt for other packing materials that have a lower environmental impact than traditional packing peanuts, but also a lower cost than the “green”, sustainable packing peanut alternatives.

Aside from all these drawbacks, many people simply found loose fill peanuts to be a nuisance and an inconvenience. They make a mess when packages are opened up, cling to clothing and have to be gathered up for disposal.

Are packing peanuts still used?

While the use of packing peanuts has seen a significant decline in Los Angeles, CA over the last couple decades, they are still used. They have very low production costs, so they can be used as a cost-saving measure for shipping and logistics. They are also capable of fitting into any size of shipping container because they are a loose fill, which makes them a highly versatile packing tool.

For the most part, though, people have become aware of the environmental risks associated with their use, and the vast majority of companies that do a lot of shipping have abandoned them in favor of other, more eco-friendly alternatives that still provide reasonable savings and flexibility (including, as mentioned above, inflated plastic fill and paper wrappings).

Are you interested in learning more about the options you have for sustainable packaging solutions, and some of the best alternatives available to the traditional packing peanut? We encourage you to take an environmentally-conscious approach to your shipping by contacting Imperial Paper Co. today with any questions you have about the products we provide. We look forward to answering any questions you have for our team and to providing you with new, more sustainable methods for protecting the items you ship out to your customers. Give our packaging service in Los Angeles a call today!

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