Starchy packing peanuts fail to flush

Public utility crews in Raleigh, N.C., have tested biodegradable packing peanuts and discovered that if they're flushed down the drain, they're a menace to plumbing pipes.

That means the eco-friendly peanuts can gum up the city's sewer lines when poured, flushed or dumped. The city suggests you save them to reuse instead, or drop them in the landfill to slowly trickle out of existence.

Corn-starch packing peanuts were developed as an alternative to Styrofoam, which can last 500 years in a landfill without breaking down. Some cities — Portland, Ore., and San Francisco among them — have banned the long-lasting polystyrene foam.

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