Because we sell anything and everything, we often get ads for the interesting, the unusual and the extremely specialized. One of the best parts of working here is that we learn so much about so many different things. Here’s where we feature an ad that made us sit up and take notice.

U-LINE PACKING PEANUTS 100% bio-degradable, 12-cu. ft., $20. +(CLARKS SUMMIT) 570-586-3180

We’ve all seen ’em. And used ’em. And probably even had to collect stray ones that wandered all over the house (and maybe even stuck to the dog) when a package was excitedly opened. They’ve been an invaluable shipping tool since they were introduced in 1965 by Dow Chemical. And sometimes, they’re colorful. Ever wonder why?

When you see packing peanuts with a pink hue, it’s meant to indicate that they’ve been treated with anti-static chemicals:


And the green ones, unsurprisingly, sport their unique coloring so you’ll know they’re made from recycled polystyrene:


In the 1990’s, manufacturers began to produce biodegradable ones, generally composed of corn starch. Aside from the impressive ability to dissolve in water, starch-based packing materials have the added benefit of no electrical charge, so they don’t tend to stick to the packed items, your clothing or even your family pet. And they’re non-toxic, too (but not especially tasty. Please don’t ask us how we know that. Thank you.).