Packing Peanuts

Put in Garbage Cart/Bin

Place packing peanuts in a clear plastic bag and tie shut, then toss in your garbage cart. Plant-based or starch packing peanuts are biodegradeable but not recyclable through the City’s curbside program – they should also go in the garbage.

Or, check with your local mail center to see if it accepts foam packing peanuts, air pillows and bubble wrap in clean and usable condition.

If you have to use packing peanuts, try to pick the green ones. Some are made from recycled materials, and some are starch-based and biodegradable (but cannot be recycled). The pink and white ones are made from 70 percent raw materials and won’t break down.


Packing Peanuts Are Not Recyclable

Packing peanuts, which are made from plastic #6, never biodegrade. Because they are so light, they are also difficult to contain. They often fly out of the trash as well as landfills, contaminating the environment.

Ways to Reduce


Use Paper Instead

Rather than purchasing packing peanuts, use a more sustainable alternative to protect your shipped items, like paper or newspaper that was headed for the recycling. Try reusing shredded paper, which is difficult to recycle.

Ways to Reuse

Save for Next Time

Packing peanuts are easily reusable. Just save them and next time you ship something that needs protection, use the packing peanuts again.

teddy bear

Reuse Foam at Home

Use foam to refill cushions or stuffed animals that have lost their loft. You can also use foam to line the bottom of your potted plants—you won’t need as much soil and it will allow water to drain easily.

Take Them to a Mail Store

Some mailing stores will accept packing peanuts and other packing materials for drop-off. However, it depends on policies and current supply, so call ahead to ask.