Green Tips & Products

Over the years we have found many ways to live more economically, and ecologically. Here we will share with you what we have learned, and share some of the products we use that make it easier to live more sustainably.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Cornstarch Packing Peanuts

A Public Radio Commentary by Bill Hammack:

My wife and I got a package in the mail that fascinated me. I don't even recall its contents, because I was taken with the the green packing peanuts used to protect whatever it was from damage. As I scooped up the pellets to toss them in the trash, my wife said, with a very knowing voice, "Just toss them on the compost pile." What! Plastic in the compost? No. She showed me a slip of paper that explained: There was no "plastic or polluting gases" used to make these peanuts; they were made of cornstarch.

Toss them on your compost pile or spread them on your lawn and with a bit of water they'll dissolve in minutes. These cornstarch packing peanuts are part of a movement called "green engineering."

It's a design philosophy where the environment is explicitly considered from the beginning: A goal is to find processes and products which are feasible and economical while minimizing pollution at the very beginning. These cornstarch packing peanuts are the work of food engineer Bill Stoll.

Read more at and at

Available online at $18 to $25 for 12 cu. ft. at a variety of sources including Uline.

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At February 20, 2007 at 1:36:00 PM EST , Blogger Jonathan said...

Steve, the fact that you didn't know what they were is good evidence that you do not buy things through the mail too often--and kudos to that. Those of us who are guilty of excessive catalog shopping may have had an advantage in recognizing cornstarch peanuts (btw, eating them makes for a great party trick among other initiates) but we've got a lot of bad karma to overcome due to our consumerism and the embedded energy of our stuff.

At December 6, 2009 at 4:30:00 PM EST , Blogger Joseph Nordlinger said...

I recognized that they were corn starch but was wondering if you were able to get a difinitive answer about composting them. Any need to worry about them gumming up all my earthworms? BTW I also created a company that gives people information, products and services to do all the basic stuff to improve the energy and water efficiency of their homes and businesses.

At December 7, 2009 at 5:36:00 PM EST , Blogger Steve Spence said...

I put them in my regular compost, not my worm bins. I don't see an issue there though.

At December 17, 2010 at 6:59:00 PM EST , Blogger Linda said...

I just bought 15 vending maachines, manufactured in China, all packed in stiff Styrofoam. What to do witn 33 boxes of styrofoam? Never, ever put them in Landfill. Who recycles this stuff? We have to come up with an altnative for styrofoam - and this cornstarch application is genious!
Linda Pond


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