California Law Requires Recycled Content Packing Peanuts

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Styrofoam is bad, don’t use it.

Not only does Styrofoam, a brand of polystyrene, sit in landfills indefinitely, but it is also notoriously difficult to recycle. It takes a process called “closed loop recycling,” meaning that polystyrene products cannot be used to make other polystyrene products. The quality of this recycled plastic is significantly lower and there is not a high demand for it, which is why most recycling plants don’t accept it.

When polystyrene is thrown away, it can take hundreds of years to decompose. It harms the digestive tracts of animals, releases toxic chemicals in the ocean, and can be carcinogenic.

Starting on January 1st in California, all polystyrene loose fill packaging (i.e. packing peanuts) must contain at least 60 percent post-consumer recycled material, according to a new state law. The number will increase to 80 percent by 2014 and 100 percent by 2017. At least if you’re using them, they’ll be made from recycled materials I guess!

You can read more about the new law here.

Do you use packing peanuts?

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