How to Recycle Packing Peanuts
Packing peanuts, made of expanded polystyrene, also known as EPS or plastic #6, keep shipped items from shifting and breaking, but send well-intentioned recyclers into a tizzy perhaps more than any other material. EPS is as recyclable as any other plastic, but due to the lightweight nature of the material and the expensive cost to transport and process for recycling, finding a local solution can prove to be difficult.
Frequent Packing Peanuts Recycling Questions
If you don’t have access to a curbside or drop-off recycling option in your neighborhood, you can also use a mail-back program such as the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers. Since EPS is extremely lightweight, it can be economically shipped to a regional collection location, but in most cases reuse is your best disposal bet for those old peanuts.
When shipping packages yourself, simply use paper from your recycling bin to insulate breakables rather than reaching for polystyrene peanuts. Crumpled newsprint, junk mail and other waste paper will do the job just as well and will be far easier for your recipient to recycle.