I’m trying to get ready for my upcoming Open Studio and I am awash in packing peanuts.

I just received three big boxes of display stuff from another artist. BIG boxes. And all of them were filled with packing peanuts.

I hate packing peanuts. I hate opening a box and having them fall out all over my studio. I hate trying to pick them up as they either slide under furniture, stick to everything in sight, or fall back out of the garbage bag I’m trying to scoop them into.

No matter how carefully I proceed, I know I’m going to spend a chunk of time re-scooping, re-sweeping, and re-picking. Because everyone knows you’re gonna handle each individual packing peanut about three times before you can get it disposed of.

I do love how lightweight they are when I’m packing an order. But I shudder at provoking the same exasperated response in MY customer who opens up MY box of product….

So here’s my big packing peanuts tip to anyone who would like to recycle and reuse the damn things in a way that won’t pass forward the same frustration and inconvenience as well:

Grab some of those plastic grocery store shopping bags, the ones you bring home dozens of every time you go grocery shopping. Actually, this is also a great way to use up some of those bags, too. TWO recycling tips with one post!

(Please don’t tell me to use paper bags. We just end up with hundreds of paper bags, too. Yes, someday we will be organized to use the reusable shopping bags. When we are also organized enough to a) buy toilet paper the first trip to the grocery store; b) buy toilet paper the second trip to the grocery store; and c) don’t have to buy four different kinds of cereal for each member of the family….)

Okay, seriously, pour some of the packing peanuts into each bag, about half full, and tie the bag shut in a knot.

You can now stuff these floppy bags inside your shipping container to cushion and protect your product.

When your customer unpacks the box, instead of a bajillion packing peanuts flying everywhere, they can now simply remove the bags of peanuts.

They can also easily reuse them or recycle them as they see fit.

And no one need ever appear in public again with little white pieces of foam stuck in their hair….

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

7 thoughts on “PACKING PEANUTS”

  1. “And no one need ever appear in public again with little white pieces of foam stuck in their hair…”

    Thus speaks the voice of experience? That sounds like something that would happen to me.

    If nothing else, they make great cat toys. Of course, bottle rings from milk and soda bottles make great cat toys too. 😉


  2. I hear you! But when I ship something small I can’t use any kind of plastic shopping bag (think the VCR tape sized USPS priority box). I suppose I could use the small zip log bags that I store jewelry in…but I actually need those.

    I’ve actually started saving all the peanuts I get from packages I receive and I reuse them. Although I do hate them. 🙂


  3. If I may make a suggestion… cornstarch peanuts.

    They’re not only biodegradable, so they won’t be hanging around in a landfill for a hundred years, they’re also extremely low static and don’t make crumbs. They may still be a bit of a pain, but they are by far the least evil kind of packing peanut I’ve met.


  4. Hey, Jessie, don’t tell ME–tell all those vendors who ship them to me!! :^D

    I love the cornstarch peanuts, myself, with one caveat: We have lots of mice, especially in my studio attic, and mice love cornstarch peanuts, too. (So does my bunny–can they possibly be good for her?!)


  5. I don’t think anyone is a fan of those things! Have you heard of this new type of packing peanut called Puffy Stuff. They’re 100% biodegradable, static free, durable, and are so safe you can eat them or throw them out in your garden! Also, there is no food value, so rodents aren’t attracted to them :). Such a great idea! The website is


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