When producers send me whiskey to taste, they invariably use a lot of packing material. When Heaven Hill sends me something that requires packing peanuts, they use the biodegradable kind made from corn.
Just like their whiskey.
Biodegradable peanuts are non-toxic, so you can just throw them in the sink and let the water run. They dissolve completely in a few minutes. Warm water seems to works better than cold and it helps if you stir them a bit. While they are dissolving the kitchen smells like fresh corn. Nice.
The alternative is polystyrene peanuts, which are made from petroleum. They can be reused but not recycled. The UPS Store where I do my shipping accepts and reuses them, but putting them in a bag and taking them over there isn't nearly as easy as just throwing them in the sink and turning the water on.
If you get something packed with peanuts and you're not sure whether or not they're biodegradable, hold one under running water and squeeze it a few times. If it's biodegradable it will get sticky and start to dissolve. Polystyrene peanuts don't do anything.
Polystyrene peanuts are a little lighter and about 10 percent cheaper, so congratulations to Heaven Hill for making the greener choice and demonstrating that corn isn't just good for making whiskey.