Styrofoam Peanuts

I like the convenience of shopping online. Not only are there lots of goodies available, but it’s easy to jump from store to store with a couple keystrokes.

However, it’s very hard to tell if the ordered product is shipped in packaging filled with billions of lighter than air Styrofoam peanuts. Open the package and your nice clean living room is deluged with bits of Styrofoam that stick to everything. Little peanut bits seep into the product itself, requiring a several minute cleanup job.

Often, the package volume is much larger than the product volume, by several times, which invites even more mountains of peanuts. Shipping departments have a device with a hose that just mixes a few chemicals and blows them with air to spray these peanuts into the box. UPS and FedEx charge by weight, not volume. It seems to me that cargo capacity is limited by both weight and volume. Imagine the weight of a large building the size of a ping pong ball. Or the volume of an ocean liner weighing an ounce.

Not only is it hard to deal with all these bits (the peanuts inevitably have little Styrofoam crumbs that adhere to everything via static electricity), they are environmentally unfriendly.

Here in Redmond, and probably in much of the country, recycling is the norm. Our planet has limited resources and discarding them into a garbage dump is not the best thing to do for my children’s future.

I really like the air-filled plastic bags for packaging protection. It’s easy to reduce their bulk, they are effective, and they don’t adhere to products.

Do you agree with me about these peanuts?

Maybe we can unify and organize against shippers that use them. Perhaps a peanut packager blacklist?