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Ask G: Eco bean bag beans?

What is an environmentally friendly alternative to bean bag beans?

What is an environmentally friendly alternative to bean bag beans?
- Leonie Donovan

bean bag

Credit: sxc.hu

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For the filling, bags of foam offcuts are available from hardware and craft stores. Alternatively, you could do what we do in the G office and use the starch-based biodegradable packaging ‘peanuts’, though they can compress over time and need a top-up or replacing.

Conventional filling is expanded polystyrene (EPS) ‘foam’ beads, which have disposal issues. There is limited EPS recycling in Australia, largely targeting bulk sources of EPS, such as fruit boxes from produce markets. The operators of these programs can’t accept bean bag beads for recycling, ironically, because they may be contaminated with packaging peanuts – the two different materials can’t be recycled together.

For the outer, favour a durable fabric, such as hemp or furnishing weight organic cotton, or recycle some fabric
(I’d recommend 50s-era curtains for a retro Mad Men look). Also, sew a lining bag to house the filling, so that the outer can be easily separated for washing.