We all have used bubble wrap over the years, right? But is it recyclable?
Bubble wrap has become a household staple over the years, and we are here to tell you that bubble wrap is recyclable.
It can even be recycled into new packaging material. Bubble wrap was invented in the 1950s and became a common way to package goods.
The material is made from polyethylene film and is commonly used to cushion items during shipping.
Bubble wrap is made from polyethylenes, which can be recycled back into other plastic products. This means that bubble wrap can be reused instead of being thrown away.
However, there are a few extra steps in understanding how it works to recycle bubble wrap, and this is what we have written this article for.
What Is Bubble Wrap?
Bubble wrap, also known as cellophane tape, is a thin layer of plastic that wraps around an item to protect it from damage.
It’s usually white or clear but sometimes comes in different colors such as pink, blue, green, etc.
It is often used when moving a house or moving delicate objects and is very useful for protecting furniture or other items that are slightly more delicate.
Bubble wrap is called so because it is composed of a number of pockets of trapped air.
These small bubbles of air provide cushioning, keeping whatever item they’re wrapped around protected from bumps and scratches.
Some bubble wrap is made up of two layers: one side with a sticky surface and the other side without any adhesive.
When the bubble wrap is wrapped around something, it sticks to itself and creates a protective barrier.
However, you can get bubble wrap without any adhesive at all if you don’t want to directly stick it to items, but instead simply wrap it around.
This is why bubble wrap is so effective at keeping items safe and sound.
If you put your hands inside the bubble wrap, you won’t get stuck because the sides stick together. Bubble wrap increased in popularity in the early 1950s.
They were looking for a more cost-effective alternative to wrapping items with paper, and thus, bubble wrap was born.
How Can I Use My Bubble Wrap?
You can use your bubble wrap for many things. For example, you can use it to create gift bags, boxes, and packages.
You can also use bubble wrap to cover objects that you don’t want to be damaged.
For example, if you’re going on vacation and you need to pack some important objects or items, you can place them inside a box and wrap them with bubble wrap.
If you’re packing fragile items like china or glassware, you should always wrap them in bubble wrap first before placing them in a box.
This will help prevent breakage or cracks. If you’re using bubble wrap for packing, make sure to fold it properly.
Fold each corner inwards and then roll it tightly until it’s completely covered.
Can I Recycle My Bubble Wrap?
Bubble wrap cannot be accepted by curbside recycling programs and it should not be mixed in with the rest of your recycling materials.
It must be separated from other types of plastic. Your recycling is often full of hard plastics which means bottles and containers etc.
These types of plastics can be recycled by the curbside and are Resin Identification Codes (RIC) number 1 or 2.
These identification codes help distinguish certain types of plastics.
Harder plastics such as your bottles and containers are in the lower number range and are made from a material called polyethylene terephthalate, or sometimes they are made with high-density polyethylene.
Whilst PET and HDPE are common materials, the material used in bubble wrap classes is as a plastic film instead or as plastic sheeting.
Other forms of films include bread bags, soft plastic wrappers, and similar sweet packets.
Bubble wrap on its own is placed under RIC number 4, which means it is made out of low-density polyethylene.
These plastic sheets should not be put into the recycling bin on your curbside.
These types of plastic films are contaminants and can damage the recycling system.
This is because they can clog the machines that process plastic recycling and can be a threat to the recycling equipment.
Bubble wrap may cause blockages in the sorting machine. Plastic films such as plastic bags, therefore, need to instead be separated and sent to landfills.
Once in a landfill, it’s estimated that it can take between 10-1,000 years to completely decompose.
However, plastics in this category, which includes bubble wrap, are recyclable, but they just need to be recycled in a slightly different way.
Bubble wrap needs to be grouped with soft plastics and taken to special drop-off places that are used for plastic film only.
Reusing Your Bubble Wrap
You can also recycle your bubble wrap by simply reusing it! Especially if it doesn’t have a sticky adhesive.
After using your bubble wrap, store it away for future uses. Don’t pop the bubbles, or else it won’t be reusable.
Store it with all your plastic films and by using it again, you are minimizing waste and helping the planet.
Other Recycling Options
Your grocery store may not always offer drop-off services or designated bins for plastic bags, bubble wrap and other plastic films.
If they do, they might have been forced to close because of COVID-19 restrictions, so you would need to find another place to recycle these materials.
You can find information about recycling plastic film online, and where you can find other designated bins.
Some websites such as Earth911 have directories to locate drop-off spots for soft plastics in any area.
Keep hold of your plastic bags, bubble wrap, or any other plastic films until you can find an alternative recycling option.
We hope after reading this article you have learned everything you need to know about bubble wrap, from what it is, what it is used for, and most importantly, whether it is recyclable or not.
Remember, you can recycle bubble wrap!
But as with all plastic sheets, just ensure you are grouping your bubble wrap with other soft plastics and take it to designated drop-offs for plastic film.
Moreover, if you have spare bubble wrap that isn’t damaged! Use it again!
This is also a form of recycling and will save you money in the long run too! Happy recycling!