We made the decision at Packaging Fulfillment Co. a few years ago to start phasing out the ubiquitous “packing peanuts” in favor of kraft paper. We also offer foam and bubble wrap as “void fill” for packages, but we felt that the pros and cons of making kraft paper our “go-to” product outweighed the use of packing peanuts. Here are some of the reasons why.

Packing Peanuts: Pros and Cons

We don’t mean to knock the little ‘S’-shaped packing peanuts. They really do work well for shipping products when you need to get them from Point A to Point B without anything breaking inside the box. The main problems with packing peanuts begin as soon as the receiver opens the box.

If your package goes directly to a consumer, their carpet, hair, clothing, and pets are covered with bits of Styrofoam as soon as they take the product out of the box. Forcing customers to run for the vacuum cleaner doesn’t seem like a great customer service feature. And if you’re shipping a product to another vendor, they end up with peanuts all over the warehouse floor.

In addition, packing peanuts are difficult to reuse or recycle. They’re not impossible to recycle, but end users often have to locate a specialty recycling center to handle them. This makes it more likely that the peanuts just end up in a landfill, where they take approximately 500 years to decompose (no kidding). Finally, packing peanuts create a storage problem where there doesn’t need to be one, which we’ll talk about below.

Packing Paper: Pros and Cons

Packing paper works just as well as packing peanuts in most cases but without the added headaches. We take jumbo-sized rolls of kraft paper in our Nashville warehouse, slit it and rewind it into counter-sized rolls for our customers’ convenience. In most cases, packing paper works great for safely packing even fragile items or items with sharp corners, as long as it is used correctly (although sometimes you may need to add some bubble wrap or foam).

When you use packing paper, there’s no messy cleanup required by the receiver of your packaging. Your customers don’t have to break out the vacuum cleaner. This is a huge plus for your company’s image.

Packing paper is also typically made from recycled paper, and it is easy to recycle or reuse when compared to packing peanuts. It’s also an extremely cost-effective method of void fill for your packaging.

You also have to think about real estate when choosing between packing peanuts and packing paper. A roll of counter-sized packing paper takes up minimal space in your office or warehouse. Meanwhile, a comparable amount of packing peanuts would have to occupy several cubic feet of space. In terms of volume, packing paper saves you a lot of space that could be put to better use with other materials, machinery, personnel, or… you name it.

Those are some of the reasons why we made the switch from packing peanuts to packing paper as our preferred method of packaging void fill.