Can Bubble Wrap Be Recycled? Let’s Find Out

What happens when you’re done with your bubble wrap? The answer is simple: it goes into the trash. But wait! There’s a better way to get rid of your old, used-up bubble wrap. 

Bubble wrap can be recycled and made into new products. However, bubble wrap can’t be accepted curbside or grouped with the rest of your recycling since it’s classified as plastic film and not hard plastic.

It is a common misconception that bubble wrap cannot be reused. This blog post will explore how to recycle your bubble wrap with simple solutions like packing material or making arts and crafts out of it! Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Can You Put Bubble Wrap in the Recycle Bin?

Bubble wrap is recyclable. However, you cannot go to your local recycling center and put it with the rest of your recycling in city-provided bins or bags (just like regular plastic).

You see, your regular recycling bins probably contain what’s known as hard plastics. These include things like disposable cups, plastic utensils, and other hard plastics. Bubble wrap is not considered hard plastic, so it cannot be recycled with the rest of your recycling.

This material is considered plastic film. Other examples of plastic films include:     

  • Shrink wrap
  • Clear wrap
  • Bread bags
  • Soft plastic wraps

The primary reason you’re not allowed to mix bubble wrap with hard plastics when recycling is because they’re considered contaminants. Contaminants can damage the quality of recycled material and make it difficult or impossible to process into new plastic products. Besides, the material can clog the machines, thereby damaging the equipment.

So, does this mean bubble wrap goes back to the landfill? No! Plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose, and bubble wraps can take even longer. So, it’s better to reuse them instead of throwing them away. 

Source: Rubicon

What Can I Do With Leftover Bubble Wrap?

So, you’ve bought a bunch of stuff that came wrapped in bubble wrap, and now you’re wondering what to do with it? You have several options when it comes to bubble wrap. These include:

Reuse for Packaging

The most obvious way to recycle bubble wrap is by reusing it for the same purpose that you got it in the first place, i.e., packing fragile items. However, for this to work, it must be in a reusable condition. 

Give it to Someone Else

Do you know someone who might benefit from bubble wrap? Perhaps a friend or family member has just moved and needs some extra help on packing fragile things properly, as well as protecting them during transit? If so, give the person your bubble wrap! They will appreciate the gesture, and you’ll recycle the bubble wrap, which is a win-win scenario. 

Bubble Wrap Art Project

As mentioned earlier, there are many creative and fun ways to recycle bubble wrap into something useful or pleasant for others to use/see. One example of this would be turning it into an art project that can eventually be displayed in your home once you’re done. 

You can also use it for decoration on your wall, or make a special gift for someone you care about. If you are planning to use it for decoration purposes, here is what you need:

  • Bubble wrap (of course) 
  • Scissors 
  • Pencils/Markers/Pens (optional) 

Using the pencils, draw out the patterns you want to make onto the bubble wrap. Then, use a ruler and scissors (or another sharp object) to cut out those shapes carefully. Once you are done cutting them all out, spread your bubble wrap pieces on top of each other so that they resemble something you may see hanging up on someone’s wall or placed as decoration somewhere else.

Explore Local Recycling Options

If you have no idea what to do with your used bubble wrap, contacting your local recycling company is another excellent alternative. There is a good chance that they will be able to recycle the bubble wrap for you so it can go back into making new packaging products!

However, if the local recycling center doesn’t deal with plastic films, consider grocery stores and other places that sell items in plastic bags. They may be able to take the bubble wrap from you and recycle it on your behalf so that you don’t have to do anything else!

Use It to Insulate Draft Windows

Bubble wrap may also come in handy when you’re trying to insulate drafty windows. All you need is a little bit of double-sided tape and bubble wrap. Use double-sided tape to stick the bubble wrap to your window as you would with regular plastic sheeting. Follow it up by draping a blanket over the top of the whole thing!

While this won’t be enough to keep out all drafts, it will help seal in some heat and reduce how much cold air comes through drafty windows during the winter months.

DIY Knee Pads

If you’re an avid gardener, you might find yourself kneeling on the ground a lot. This can lead to sore knees and really uncomfortable aches, but you don’t have to give up your outdoor hobby! Simply cut open some bubble wrap and tape it over your knee pads for an instant DIY makeover that will keep your gardening without pain all season long.

Source: Air Sea Containers

Wrapping Up

Bubble wrap is invaluable for packing fragile items. However, most people don’t know what to do with it once they’re finished with it. As a result, this plastic film often goes back to the landfill, where it wreaks havoc on the environment. Don’t allow this to happen on your watch. As you’ve learnt, you can recycle old bubble wrap, and if that’s not an option for you, there are plenty of other creative ways to reuse the packing material!

Therefore, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you’ve got some bubble wrap to dispose of, why not try one or two of the above methods? You might be surprised at how much more value your old packaging material can provide!

 

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