Bubble wrap is one of the most fascinating recyclable materials that has grown in popularity in recent years.
Bubble wrap is a common packing material used by people to protect their belongings before transporting them. It’s a great way to protect fragile items or keep them from shifting during transport.
With increased environmental awareness, more people are considering recycling bubble wrap rather than throwing it away.
But can bubble wrap be recycled? What makes it so fascinating? What can you do with bubble wrap after you’ve used it? How do you repurpose it?
Let’s look at what makes bubble wrap so interesting, why people should recycle it, and how to reuse it creatively.
What is bubble wrap made of?
Bubble wrap is a type of plastic that is commonly used to protect items during shipping or storage. It’s made of a thin plastic film wrapped around bubbles to create an air pocket.
This makes it very effective at keeping items from moving during transportation and providing temperature control––keeping items cool or warm depending on the season. Its thinness makes it a particularly excellent choice for small items.
How is bubble wrap made?
The process of making bubble wrap is known as thermoforming.
To begin, a thin plastic film is stretched over the top of circular molds to form bubbles. Following that, each pocket is blown with air or another gas until it becomes rigid and stands on its own. The sheet is held together by an adhesive “hinge” that connects each bubble to the sheet. The film is then cut to size and sealed.
Why is bubble wrap so popular?
Bubble wrap has grown in popularity because it provides excellent protection as well as insulation.
When packed around fragile items, the air pockets act as an absorbent cushion, limiting movement within the box or envelope during transit and protecting the objects from damage.
Since packages are stacked on top of each other during shipping, the items may cause damage to one another if not separated by bubble wrap.
Can you reuse bubble wrap?
You certainly can!
When you have fragile items that require special care or protection, bubble wrap is an excellent material to use. It is reusable in the same way that it is recyclable ––there are many simple changes you can make to cut down on waste and reduce your carbon footprint, such as purchasing items in bulk or reusing boxes.
Although bubble wrap is recyclable, it is more difficult to recycle than other materials because it is made up of multiple components.
It may take a few attempts before successfully recycling bubble wrap, and the recycled product can be reused. However, if you recycle your bubble wrap correctly, you have a plethora of options for what you can do with your recycled bubble wrap.
What to do with your leftover bubble mailers?
Most people who receive packages will end up with a pile of empty bubble envelopes after using them for packing and shipping.
Depending on the type of recycling program, many accept them as plastic film or mixed paper materials. If your city does not have a drop-off station, several online programs will take them on your behalf and use the materials to make new products like fleece clothing, pillows, and furniture padding.
10 creative things you can do with your leftover bubble mailers:
- Make a DIY gift box by cutting the mailers in half and folding them together
- Use as a container to store your jewelry or other small items
- Turn into an origami project––there are lots of tutorials on YouTube!
- Make a DIY gift wrap
- Use them to package gifts
- Create a new pen holder for your desk or bedside table
- Turn it into an envelope organizer
- Cut the mailers up and use them as confetti in your next party
- Draw on them with permanent markers and cut out shapes that you can use as decorations for birthday parties, weddings, etc
- Fill one with rice or beans and make a weighted ball (great for kids!)
Why should you recycle your bubble wrap?
It is critical to protect the environment, and recycling is an excellent way to do so.
Recycling helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also conserving resources such as water, energy, time, money, and space in the long run. Not only can you recycle bubble wrap, but you will also save landfill space, which means that less waste from other sources will have to be buried or incinerated.
When you recycle bubble wrap, you not only reduce your carbon footprint but also help your community and protect our natural resources.
What happens to the environment when you recycle bubble wrap vs. throwing it away?
It is better for the environment to recycle bubble wrap rather than throw it away.
Three major factors must be considered when disposing of waste in an environmentally friendly manner: greenhouse gas emissions, the toxicity of the material in question, and energy consumption during processing.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Recycling bubble wrap reduces greenhouse gas emissions because it saves energy by not extracting raw materials from the earth and manufacturing new items from them (which takes a lot of energy).
When bubble wrap is discarded, it decomposes and emits methane. On the other hand, recycling ensures that waste is reused and does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Bubble Wrap contains a high concentration of air bubbles made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film made of polyethylene or plastics that are not easily degraded by microorganisms.
To reduce the environmental damage caused by the material, LDPE film can be recycled and reused for other purposes. Reusing bubble wrap helps you to reduce your carbon footprint.
Making bubble wrap requires more energy than recycling it. Recycling also consumes less energy than producing new, comparable products.
Finally, recycling or reusing bubble wrap is by far the better option for the environment.
It’s important to note that when you throw away bubble wrap, it won’t biodegrade quickly and will end up as an air pollutant, contributing to climate change. Throwing away bubble wrap can be hazardous because it takes many years for this type of packaging material to degrade in landfills.
When you reuse bubble wrap, you use less energy than if the plastic were melted down and reformed into a new sheet of plastic for another use. When you reuse rather than recycle bubble wrap, you produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
What is the best way to reuse bubble wrap?
The best way to repurpose bubble wrap is to use it as insulation for mailers and packages.
Bubble wrap can also be used to pack fragile and expensive items that must travel. While bubble wrap is a protective material, it is not ideal for cold-weather insulation. Bubble wrap can also be used as packing material to protect items during shipping or storage from shock and damage.
Other than packaging items for transportation, the thin plastic film can be reused in a variety of ways––it’s a great addition to your arts and crafts stash! You can use the bubbles as building material or craft tools by filling each pocket with paint and using it as a stamp. Simply adhere the bubble side to your paper, color through each pocket with a paintbrush or sponge, and print.
What are the benefits of reusing bubble wrap?
You can help reduce waste and save money on supplies for your company’s shipping needs by reusing empty bubble wrap.
Recycling bubble wrap can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts because fewer raw materials will need to be used. Because bubble wrap can be used for multiple purposes, reusing it makes your packaging process more cost-effective.
Explore your local recycling options
You can find out if your city or town has a recycling program that accepts bubble wrap and other types of packaging.
If you live in the United States, go to Earth 911 to see a map of nearby options. Participation is simple and convenient because many companies will come directly to your home and pick up recyclable items such as bubble wrap for free.
You can also look into your county’s recycling policies to see if it will accept bubble wrap and other packaging materials for reuse or disposal. Because it is difficult to sort out, some areas may refuse to accept bubble wrap and other packaging materials for recycling.
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