A Jessup factory has started producing a new kind of whit packaging "peanut" that dissolves in water, can be composted into fertilizer and can even be eaten, though the makers don't recommend them as a dining experience.
Art Buckingham, Maryland branch manager for American Excelsior Co., said yesterday that the corn starch-based "Eco-Foam" pellets are an alternative to standard white polystyrene foam "peanuts." The company, based in Arlington, Texas, is one of the nation's biggest producers of plastic packaging materials, he said.
Polystyrene pellets have caused environmental problems, Mr. Buckingham said. Pollutants are often released into the air when they're made, and used polystyrene takes decades to decompose.