One man’s trash is another man’s—mulch, livestock feed, fuel source, and now packaging material.

In fact, gin trash has become valuable enough to change its name from gin waste to cotton by-product, says USDA-ARS engineer Greg Holt, at the USDA Gin Lab in Lubbock, Texas.

Since 1999 Holt has been looking at gin waste—cotton by-product—to determine what value-added uses could be developed to material that in the past had simply been incinerated to get rid of it.

He’s worked on fuel pellets, particle board and hydro-mulch, among other products. His latest endeavor has been with packaging material, a product that could replace some of the polystyrene currently used to protect fragile goods from harm during shipping and handling. The molded pieces of material that protect the corners and screens of electronic devices, as well as furniture, appliances and other breakables, may be packed in cotton boll hulls.