Hate buying some new gadget, only to wind up with a sea of packing peanuts that do little more than spill on to the floor? Don't be too quick to toss them out -- they may be the key to a new generation of lithium-ion batteries. Purdue University researchers have developed a heating process that converts these shipping leftovers into anodes (where lithium ions are stored during charging) made from carbon. On top of eliminating waste, this technique should lead to batteries that recharge much faster. The carbon anodes are only a tenth as thick as their commercially available counterparts, so they don't produce nearly as much electrical resistance.