If you care about the environment like me, you are probably asking- can you recycle bubble wrap? The answer to this is “Yes” as we will see below.
What is Bubble Wrap?
Bubble wrap is a registered trademark for the plastic packaging of the Sealed Air Corporation. It is made from film, which is a grade of polyethylene, which is also used for making thin plastic bags, plastic wrap, and film, as well as polyethylene foam and air pillows.
The creation of bubble wraps began in 1957 when two engineers; Marc Chavannes and Alfred Fielding attempted to create textured plastic wallpaper. They however failed and this is when the Sealed Air Corporation decided to use bubble wrap as a packaging material.
Bubbles are created by laying sheets of plastic on each other and them heating to fuse them. Unlike most packaging materials, bubble wrap is designed with numerous uses in mind.
Can You Recycle Bubble Wrap?
Yes, it is possible to recycle bubble wrap. However, since bubble wrap is made from film plastic known as low-density polyethylene #4 (LDPE), it should not be put in the recycling container. This is because it can clog the recycling machinery
Where To Recycle Bubble Wrap
Bubble wrap is only accepted in national-drop off collection programs or curbside recycling. It is however important to note that curbside recycling is quite limited since film plastic can be tricky to keep unsoiled. Film plastic also tends to interrupt and tangle the recycling sorting machine, which can be costly and time-consuming.
These programs allow you to place the bubble wrap in a soft recycling bin which is usually placed at local stores and pharmacies. To find more about drop-off points in your location, be sure to utilize the plasticfilmrecylcing.org drop off locator. You can as well search for recycling options on the Earth911 Recycling Search website.
However, before you recycle your bubble wrap, make sure that you understand the specified guidelines of the program. For instance, the program may require you to place the bubble wrap in a clear plastic bag and seal it at the top to avoid losing the contents.
Learn more about the Recycling symbols for plastic.
How to Reuse Bubble Wrap
Apart from packaging uses, the Sealed Air Corporation has designed bubble wrap to be used for other various uses. However, to reuses, the bubble wraps should be kept unpopped. Here are some ideas on how to reuse bubble wrap.
Use as Packaging Material
A common way of reusing bubble wrap is using it as a packaging material. Bubble wrap can be very helpful when storing or moving fragile items and delicate ornaments.
Bubble wrap also comes in handy when doing craft projects. It is a safe and fun way for kids to get creative and come up with a variety of projects.
Donate to Shipping Centers
In most cases, shipping centers such as Pak Mail and UPS store do not accept donations of bubble wrap materials. You should however check with them first and know their policy since most do not accept bubble wraps that are popped. To donate, you can put the bubble wrap up for grabs in sites like Freecycle or Craigslist.
Ways to Recycle Bubble Wrap Correctly
Here are some steps that will help you to recycle bubble wrap acceptably;
- Make sure that you pop all the air bubbles
- Reuse sustainable packaging materials that are not recyclable
- Identify a recycling center where you can take your bubble wrap for recycling
Recycling bubble wrap is important and helpful to both the recycling companies and the environment. Otherwise, it will remain in the landfill forever since it is not biodegradable. If you are not able to locate a recycling program nearby, it is advisable to ship the bubble wrap to Sealed Air Corporation.