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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Sealed Air Introduces More-Sustainable Packing Peanuts

If you did much holiday shopping online this year, you likely had to deal with pesky, loose-fill peanut packaging that is tough on the environment and difficult to dispose of or recycle.

Packaging manufacturers Sealed Air claim to have solved the “peanut problem” with a new loose fill product made of 95% non-food based renewable material.

Sealed Air says the product, called PakNatural, provides the same cushioning protection as polystyrene packing peanuts without the static and environmental impact. And it has better humidity resistance than peanuts made of starch, which also have the downside of diverting food sources.

Sealed Air does not say what non-food based renewable material the PakNatural product is made from.

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The company’s marketing video for the product states that using PakNatural sends the message that your company is environmentally aware. However, the product seems indistinguishable from polystyrene or starch-based packing peanuts to the untrained eye, which could negate some of the green branding potential.

PakNatural does not solve the problem of disposal or recycling (the 5% non-renewable material suggests the peanuts cannot be composted), but it does offer another greener packaging option.

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.