This column earlier described two ways to get rid of used packaging peanuts: return to sender ("Peanut Cycles," No. 02921143, February 1992) or eat them ("Edible Packaging Peanuts," No. 04921322, April 1992). Here's another: send them -- the polystyrene, not starch, kind -- to BlackLightning, a recycler of toner cartridges, where they'll be kept away from landfills and given a cozy home.
The company's environmentally sensitive founder, Walter Jeffries, is collecting packaging polystyrene to insulate the walls and roof of the late-18th-century farmhouse -- which doubles as BlackLightning's production facility -- he has to heat in the cold reaches of New England. The retired material is cheaper than blueboard commercial fiberglass insulation and does not pack down over time like the blown-in variety. And it's just as efficient, as Jeffries determined when he used some to insulate a hothouse for his vegetables. Shipping the stuff to him, he points out, won't cost any more than a local dump fee.
Send your old polystyrene packaging to The Peanut Project, c/o BlackLightning, Riddle Pond Rd., West Topsham, VT 05086, or call 802-439-6462.
-- Robert A. Mamis