Packaging the Future: Fluffy Natural Packaging!

by , 11/04/10

sustainable design, green design, packaging the future, green packaging, biodegradable, green materials, waste reduction

Popcorn is used by a number of eco-conscious companies in place of those infuriating packing peanuts (I can’t be the only one who always manages to get teensy pieces of styrofoam peanut everywhere anytime they are sent to me; even if I didn’t hate styrofoam because of its deleterious environmental effects, it is one of the few substances that could just plain annoy me to death). Popcorn, of course, doesn’t just appear fully formed — energy is needed to grow the corn and pop it, it’s not waterproof, and pests can be attracted to it.

But as long as it’s kept dry, popcorn protects as well as styrofoam peanuts, and it’s almost as lightweight, depending on the type of popcorn used. For packages that are being shipped quickly in dry conditions, it can work well. It’s also totally biodegradable, composts quickly, and though I wouldn’t chance actually eating it, if you have a backyard, local birds will have a feast if you leave it out for them. Popcorn is a great material for small businesses or individuals to use (be sure to air pop and find other tips here).

+ Packaging The Future

packaging the future, green packaging, starre vartanStarre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick and author of The Eco-Chick Guide to Life (St. Martin’s Press). A green living expert, she contributes to The Huffington Post and Mother Nature Network (

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  1. JimL November 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Please contact me about our natural packaging.

  2. mikepetrucci November 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I really like the idea of popcorn being used! Do you think they could do flavored popcorn? Imagine getting packages with caramel popcorn! Something to eat while you unbox your new gizmo!

    Also, this reminds me of a company making eco friendly packaging material out of mushrooms! It’s not whole edible mushrooms (although I think it’s edible) but a grown/formed/shaped piece. Here is video on it:

    Oh, and one thing I just noticed is that some packing peanuts I get are the new ones made from corn starch. To prove to my coworkers that they are different, I show how they disintegrate on water or even in my mouth! I try not to eat more than 1 or 2 though, haha!

  3. quiltingmatilda November 5, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Stop using food for packing (unless it can be eaten by man or beast after shipping). Give the foam peanuts back to the FedEx/UPS driver for reuse at the retail store.

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