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Making Your Own Packaging Supplies -- Packing Peanuts

The convenience of online shopping has led to a great increase in shipping products across distances great and small. People who spend a lot of their time shipping and packing products will appreciate cost-effective packaging supplies

Packing peanuts are an example of a supply that will be needed in vast quantities and finding a low-cost supply of this important staple will be high on any shipping packer’s priority list. 

The store-bought option is not always the best way to go. In addition to being a heavy expense, store-bought packing peanuts are not always biodegradable and can cause long term effects to our environment. 

There is an option that won’t cost as much or leave contaminants that will end up in at a landfill. You can create your own environmentally-friendly non-stick packing peanuts with some basic ingredient you have around the house as well as a small investment of time. 

DIY Packing Peanuts

Following is a list of ingredients and supplies you will need to create a cost-effective solution to keeping goods safe in storage. 

You will need:

  • 1 large bag of frozen of frozen corn
  • Potato masher/ large fork/ blender / food processor
  • Large mixing bowls
  • Water 
  • Perforated spoon, colander or strainer
  • Wax paper or cookie sheets
  • Cheese cloth 
  • Measuring Spoons (Tablespoon, Teaspoon)

Defrost the bag of frozen corn. You can do this by leaving it out for a couple of hours or setting in the microwave for a few minutes, just be sure they are soft and not cooked completely. 

In a large mixing bowl mash the corn with the large fork or potato masher until it has the consistency of baby food. This can be done faster by placing the corn in the food processor or blender until it is well mashed. 

Return the corn to the mixing bowl. Add water to the corn mash until it is just covered and place the bowl in a cool dry place. The mixture must sit overnight so the starches can be fully dissolved. 

Return the next day (8 hours later) and use a perforated spoon to remove the larger clumps of corn from the mixing bowl and spread these clumps of corn out evenly on the cookie sheet.

You can also do this by pouring the contents of the mixing bowl through the strainer. If you do use the colander, use another large bowl to catch the liquid. This liquid this is the key ingredient as it holds the starches that will become the packing peanuts. Leave the water saturated with starches to settle for 15-20 minutes. 

After it has settled, pour the water mixture into the cheesecloth in order to trap all the corn starches inside. The water in the cheesecloth can sit overnight to allow the starchy mass to dry completely. Place one of the large mixing bowls underneath to catch all the liquid that remains. 

The next day, or when the starchy mass has dried, remove it from the cheesecloth and place it into a mixing bowl. Add a tablespoon of conventional cornstarch powder and a teaspoon of the liquid that dripped into the bowl from the cheesecloth. 

The mixture should be turning into a thick paste by now. Place about a cup at a time into a microwaveable container and microwave the mixture on high for 15 seconds. 

The result should be one non-stick environmentally friendly packing peanut. You can experiment with ratios and molds to achieve different foamy consistencies and peanut shapes. Repeat this process to make as many peanuts as your packaging supplies require.

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