Going Green With Starch Packing Peanuts!

by Drs. Foster and Smith on March 1, 2013

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Starch resin "cooks" up to make the peanuts!

Starch resin "cooks" up to make the peanuts!

**Guest post from Audrey S.**

This is a post from a few years ago, but is information that a lot of people don’t know about our company. I wanted to repost it so those of you who are new to Drs. Foster and Smith can watch this interesting video.

Though styrofoam packing peanuts are reusable, our use of them was our single most common complaint. When biodegradable starch peanuts were brought to our attention, we thought it was an interesting concept and worth investigating. The idea of a peanut made of potato and corn starches!

The cost, of course, had to remain within budget. It also had to withstand crushing and it had to move through our peanut delivery system. Bob, our Maintenance Manager, could justify the cost if we made the peanuts ourselves. He was sure this would work. It would be easy – just like making Cheetos! They kind of look alike, but really do not taste anything like Cheetos!

We took a road trip and visited another company in Wisconsin that made and used the starch peanuts. We saw that they flowed effortlessly through their system. Quite shocking was to see that they started out as a small resin dot and expanded to a peanut. One bag of resin could be cooked up to equal a semi load of peanuts! The transportation savings brought the starch cost down considerably and made them even less expensive than the Styrofoam peanuts.

Occasionally, we have to do tours of our facility and we include a peanut dissolving demonstration. If anyone came to our past Frag Swaps, you might have seen it. People love it!  I think our whole facility is quite impressive but at the end of every tour people comment on the peanut demonstration.  (Maybe my speech is boring and needs some work??)  We simply take a handful of peanuts and dunk them in a bucket of water and they dissolve.  Watch the video below to see them dissolving in a sink.

ferret-dig-boxIt really is quite amazing!  Comments in regard to peanuts have gone from complaints to “Thanks for using biodegradable starch!”   It has been a win-win situation for our customers and us!  Oh, and for ferrets too!  Ferrets love to play in our starch peanut dig boxes.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

monique March 4, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Thanks for that info. I recycled the peanuts in which my pkg. was delivered by giving them to an independent shipping company.

Jessica May 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm

My dog thinks she is getting a treat every time I get a package with these or the wheat based ones. She likes the wheat starch ones the best though, sorry. She begs and begs for them and steals them out of the box

Michele August 9, 2014 at 6:36 pm

What do you do with all of the peanuts when you have a private septic system? I have been told that it wasn’t good for the system. We have tried to give them away, but nobody else wants them either. So far, they have been going to the landfill in a big bag. I hate doing this, but I don’t know what else to do. I have asked Drs. Foster and Smith not to put the peanuts in my box; but then this causes such an uproar that they won’t ship my box for days. I hope someone has an answer. I usually enjoy shopping at Drs. F&S; normally my shipments go out the same day as they are ordered and are always what I ordered.

Melissa R. August 11, 2014 at 11:22 am

Michele, I am happy to tell you all you need to do is put them in your sink, and run water over them. The peanut are made of starch and 100% biodegradable. They wont have any affect on a septic system.

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