featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Every once in awhile one of our editors comes across a great tip that really doesn’t fall neatly into any of our editorial areas. Still, we’d like to pass along the information to our readers. So from time to time we’re going to step our of our expected roles to give you cool tips about “other stuff.” Today decorating editor Jeanie Sims has something to offer. -- AP

Thanks, Anastasia! Have you ever packed or unpacked a shipping carton and had to deal with those maddening foam packing peanuts? They drive you nuts the way they stick to your hands and clothing, don’t they? I’m no scientist, but I think it has something to do with static electricity.

Well, what’s the secret to avoiding static on your clothes from the dryer? Fabric softener sheets, of course. So the next time before you pack or unpack a carton containing foam peanuts, wipe your hands with a fabric softener dryer sheet. It will keep the peanuts from clinging to your hands.

What a great suggestion! Thanks, Jeanie! I’m forever fighting with packing peanuts. Readers, if you have a tip you think others would be interested in, why not share it with us? 
Post a comment to be entered in this week's drawing for a book from our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP


Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Here's a tip for what to do with all of those packing peanuts when you're finished with them. Lighten the load of heavy, dirt-filled plant pots by putting a layer of packing peanuts in the bottom of your pots before filling with a soil mixture. Fill the pot a third of the way up with the peanuts. It is a great way to recycle, certainly makes for lighter pots (important when dragging them from one corner of the patio to the other), and the plants are unaffected by this addition.


That's a great tip, Pattie! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but the pink peanuts you show for photo are the static free electrical grade variety, so no issue with these. It's the white ones that cause for real issue with static. Also realize that certain chemicals on your hands can transfer through your skin and too cause a film that may transfer onto objects. Caution is needed if you are packing valuable and or historical things for keeping oil and acid free.

I have yet to find issue with the pink peanuts and these too may be mixed in with the white to help make the batch static free. Green peanuts are made with at least 70% recycled materials but are not static free.

The typical packing peanut is made from polystyrene. It is incredibly durable but is an environmental disaster because it will last for hundreds of years when disposed of. In the early 1990s, a new variety was introduced made from corn starch. Because they are all natural, they are non-toxic and will disintegrate naturally over time. However bugs love to eat them and so these should never be used for true packaing and/or storage of items. Only for quick shipping of goods with the corn starch (yellowish) variety. For businesses that reuse shipping materials over and over, the corn starch varieties are less effective because it will not last as long--though it provides the same packing protection as the traditional polystyrene variety for quick shipments.

Because of the environmental impact associated with these items, it is important to use and dispose of them properly. If you receive an item in the mail packed in polystyrene (white, pink or green)peanuts, consider saving them for your future packing and mailing needs. If you don't have the space to keep them, they can be returned to any shipping facility, including your local post office, for recycling.