Easy, Smart Ways to Repurpose Old Packaging Foam

If you’ve ever ordered something through the mail or purchased a fragile item, it’s a near certainty that you’ve encountered foam packaging inserts before. Whether it was rigid polystyrene board, or squishy soft charcoal foam, keeping the extra foam for packaging, even after you know you won’t be returning what it protected, is often smart.

Obviously, keeping packing foam around means when you have something you want to send, you don’t have to go out and purchase packaging materials to protect it. Whether you’re sending a birthday gift to a cousin or sending something away for repair, you can’t overprotect something in the mail. If you realize you threw away something’s original packaging years ago, makeshift foam packaging with soft poly foam will help keep it safe and secure in transit.

Packaging peanuts are generally considered the least-favorite packaging material, but even these have some value if you don’t mind keeping a few around.  For example, foam peanuts make great spacers when placed behind pictures to protect walls, and when mounting them, can hold the nails being hammered into the wall, keeping fingers and thumbs safe.

Firmer open-cell foam packing can serve a purpose acoustically, surprisingly. When paired with a non-resonant piece of MDF wood for the stand, firm charcoal foam can be used under speakers or subwoofers to help decouple speakers from the room. This will help reduce the movement of vibrations throughout the room, which can cause rattles or buzzing as they come into contact with the various objects in a room. It may also help give your speakers improved clarity as well, by lifting them to a better listening position. If you’ve got loads of packaging foam hanging around, don’t be afraid to put it to work for you, whether repurposing it or using it for a whole new project.