Can You Recycle Bubble Wrap?

Bubble wrap has been an extremely popular packaging material for over 60 years. It’s unique design and pliability mean it can provide versatile protection for valuable items of all shapes and sizes. 

While bubble wrap can protect products from damage during transit, it’s important to have an awareness of its impact upon the environment. For example, can you recycle bubble wrap? We reveal exactly how environmentally friendly bubble wrap is and what the eco-friendly alternatives are below.

What Is Bubble Wrap?

First created in 1960, “Bubble Wrap” –– it’s official product name back then –– has since been used to protect millions of shipments across the world. It all started with IBM, which was shipping heavy and expensive computers to customers via post. It needed proper protection for these important shipments, but the only packaging protection available at the time was newspaper, sawdust and horsehair. All of which were wildly unsuitable. The thin sheets filled with pockets of air revolutionised the packaging industry, sending Bubble Wrap –– still a trademark of Sealed Air Corporation –– into the stratosphere.

What Is Bubble Wrap Made Of?

The trademarked product was innovative at the time of its conception. Sheets of bubble wrap are made of plastic, and each sheet holds hundreds and thousands of tiny sealed air pockets. These pockets of air act as a protective barrier, shielding precious products from the usual bumps that packages experience during the shipping process.

Can Bubble Wrap Be Recycled?

Today’s bubble wrap can be put in your regular recycling bin, just like any other recyclable plastic. From there, it’ll be collected and taken to a facility where it’ll be recycled and eventually repurposed to make all kinds of products –– from clothing to garden furniture. Although it can be recycled, it isn’t biodegradable, meaning that it’ll be around for tens or hundreds of years after it’s been created.

From the latest technology to fine jewellery, bubble wrap has proven to be a reliable and versatile form of protection for all kinds of packages. But, in recent years, it’s fallen under scrutiny. The international online retail giant, Amazon, started using non-recyclable bubble wrap envelopes, which caused a media uproar. They later switched to more sustainable forms of paper and cardboard packaging after the heavy backlash.

But we’re still left with a problem: with so much bubble wrap being manufactured –– and a lack of recycling due to misinformation –– we’re contributing to a plastic waste pandemic, polluting oceans and adding to overflowing landfills.

Are There Any Alternatives to Bubble Wrap?

The good news is that there are now many eco-friendly alternatives to bubble wrap, including PuffPack, an amazing and environmentally friendly substitute. It’s specially engineered to obtain 50% better yield than flat paper, so you’ll be able to use less of it and still get perfect protection. It’s made from 100% recycled paper, it’s 100% recyclable, it’s biodegradable and it’s compostable. What’s not to like?

“Packing peanuts” in the form of EcoNutz give you another eco-friendly option that helps protect the environment as well as your packages. These are also 100% biodegradable and made from 100% recycled materials for maximum environmental protection. EcoNutz won’t compromise on functionality either, securing your packages better than plastic sheets of air-filled pockets that, once popped, aren’t much use to anyone.

What Else Can You Do with Bubble Wrap?

If you’ve found yourself with an abundance of bubble wrap, there are numerous ways it can be repurposed to extend its lifespan. From insulating your home to protecting your plants, bubble wrap can provide temporary yet effective insulation, just so long as all the bubbles are still intact. If you’ve already had your fun popping all the bubbles, it’s probably time to send it to be recycled and allow it to become useful to someone else.

Conclusion: Is Bubble Wrap Recyclable?

The short answer is “yes”, but you should consider the environmental cost of using oil-based plastics to protect the parcels you send. With so many more eco-friendly alternatives on offer –– most of which are already made from recycled materials –– you can help save the planet with each package you send.

Want to send an eco-friendly package without it costing the earth? Packaging Supplies specialises in eco-friendly packaging alternatives that help protect the planet. Check out our bubble wrap alternatives, and start saving the environment with your shipments today.