Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Heaven Hill Finds Another Good Use For Corn.

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.


Anonymous said...

Why not just toss them in the trash instead of wasting multiple gallons of our most precious resource? By doing this, you've totally countered the intent of using environmentally friendly packing materials.

Congratulations would then be truly deserved.all around.

Chuck Cowdery said...

I live about 200 yards from the greatest supply of fresh water in the world and what is more recyclable than water? In the trash, in a plastic bag in a landfill, the ability to biodegrade is compromised. All things considered, I think my way is better, but no solution is perfect, which is why everyone should be careful about drawing narrow conclusions.

scott sailor said...

Not to mention the energy used to haul away and bury that stuff. If they used real popcorn you could just eat it, or feed it to pets. That would be pretty cool!

Anonymous said...

I agree that no solution is perfect, but we once thought that we'd never cut down the limitless North American forest, nor kill all the bison or passenger pigeons.

My 'narrow conclusions' come from personal hardship. I grew up in a coal mining area in the east, and the mining under our property killed our well. Lived off a cistern that caught rain water from the roof, and had water hauled in when that went dry in the summers. We had to recycle laundry water for the garden and flushing the toilet.

Just because the Great Lakes (bison herd, huge forests) are visible from your window doesn't guarantee their perpetual longevity. Only our personal vigilance will.

I'll take water over landfill space any day.

Chuck Cowdery said...

I meant the 'narrow conclusions' statement both ways, as applying to me too. I have to honor your perspective, which I do.