You’ve seen it around – used as packing materials for electronics, small appliances, and even shipping supplies. It’s almost certainly been a part of your life. But what happens to all those bubbles after the wrap is used? Can bubble wrap be recycled?
Bubble wrap is recyclable as it is made out of low-density polyethylene (LDPE), but it is not actually currently accepted in the majority of curbside recycling programs. This means that it should be put in the waste bin or at recycling collection places that are dedicated to it.
I hope this gave you a better understanding of the question if bubble wrap can be recycled, but I invite you to read further if you want to learn more about the topic. I also cover the topic of what is bubble wrap made of, how can you recycle it, and more.
- What is bubble wrap made of?
- Can bubble wrap be recycled?
- How to recycle bubble wrap?
- How to reuse bubble wrap?
- 1. Stress relief
- 2. Keeps food cold
- 3. Protect your plants
- 4. Stop car frost
- 5. Insulate windows
- 6. Protects your outdoor pipes
- 7. Line your storage box
- 8. Add to handles for protection…
- 9. … or for a better grip
- 10. Protect your knees
- 11. Keep animals away
- 12. Cushion food in the fridge
- 13. Dust protector
- 14. Go thrifting with it
- 15. Create art
- Where to donate bubble wrap?
- Is bubble wrap biodegradable?
- Is there recyclable bubble wrap?
- Can you recycle bubble wrap at supermarkets?
- Can bubble wrap be recycled at Tesco?
- Does Walmart recycle bubble wrap?
- Frequently asked questions
What is bubble wrap made of?
Before I can answer the question if bubble wrap can be recycled, let’s look at what is bubble wrap made of.
Bubble wrap is made from polyethylene, a type of plastic.
The process begins with polyethylene resin in the form of tiny beads. These are then melted down to a thin film, which is the base for the bubble wrap.
The bubbles are created by stretching out the plastic and blowing air into it. The process is called extrusion.
The sheets are then cut into various sizes and shapes. The material is very light, which makes it easy to transport and handle.
It’s also waterproof – which makes it a good choice for packaging items that might get wet or dirty during transit, like electronics or other sensitive equipment.
For example, bubble wrap can be used as cushioning around breakable items; it can also help prevent products from moving around inside boxes or containers during transport.
Can bubble wrap be recycled?
Ok, now that I’ve covered what bubble wrap is made of, let’s focus on the question of can bubble wrap be recycled.
Yes, bubble wrap can be recycled. Bubble wrap is made up of polyethylene plastic which is a recyclable material.
However, not all plastics are currently accepted in most recycling programs. But what plastics can be recycled?
Resin identification codes (or RIC) are used in manufacturing to identify the type of plastic or resin that a component is made from. They can be either numbers or letters.
The RIC is usually found on the bottom of the component, but sometimes it may be on top or hidden inside another part.
The harder plastics are in the lower range of the numbers and are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
However, bubble wrap falls in the classification of plastic wrap or film (much like plastic bags) and falls under the RIC #4 category, which means that it is made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE).
This is the category of plastic waste that should not be placed in curbside recycling. Why?
It is more difficult to recycle than other types of plastic because it’s more likely to clog up the equipment during the recycling process if it’s not cleaned out properly first (which can be difficult).
Nevertheless, bubble wrap and other RIC #4 plastic materials are still recyclable but should not be combined with other plastics.
Generally, it should be brought to designated drop-off points that specifically collect plastic film.
How to recycle bubble wrap?
Bubble wrap has now become very popular among people due to its durability, low cost, and ease of use.
But, how to recycle bubble wrap if it’s usually not accepted with curbside recycling?
If you’re not planning to reuse bubble wrap and you want to get rid of it, there are many ways to recycle bubble wrap.
The first thing to do is to check if your local recycling center accepts it for recycling.
If it does, you can take it there yourself or find a company to do it for you.
If your local recycling center does not accept a plastic film like bubble wrap, you can still recycle it by taking it to a drop-off location near you.
There are many companies that specialize in collecting and recycling polyethylene plastic film, including bubble wrap.
You can recycle plastic materials, such as bubble wrap through many local recycling centers, including those found at grocery stores and even pharmacies.
Stores like Walmart, Lidl, Target, and others have drop-off recycling centers.
Another to recycle bubble wrap is to take it to an e-waste recycling center or facility (also known as an e-recycling center or e-waste collection center).
These centers are located throughout the United States and accept electronics and other household items that have reached the end of their useful life. These items are mostly plastic!
You can visit a nearby location or search online for e-waste recycling centers in your area and ask if they also accept plastic film and bubble wrap.
Is your business producing larger volumes of bubble wrap? Then I recommend that you partner with a recycling company.
The chosen company will help you with pick-up services, so you can enjoy a hands-off process while being responsible for your plastic waste.
How to reuse bubble wrap?
If you want to lower the plastic waste, you can always reuse it! Here are 15 ways how to reuse bubble wrap.
1. Stress relief
I think we all like to pop bubble wrap, but this is actually because it provides instant stress relief!
2. Keeps food cold
Line your shopping bags with bubble wrap, so you prevent the frozen or cold foods getting too cold. And it also works to keep hot foods from getting cold.
3. Protect your plants
Your outdoor plants don’t need a surprise frost. Cover them with bubble wrap, so they can be protected from the cold.
4. Stop car frost
Bubble wrap is a great insulator and if you cover your car windscreen, you won’t have to deal with frost on your window! Just leave the sheet on your car overnight and your car windows will be protected.
5. Insulate windows
Want to save on heat? Tape a sheet of bubble wrap over your windows. This will provide insulation through those cold winter months. It can also be used in your greenhouse.
6. Protects your outdoor pipes
As I said, bubble wrap is a great insulator. Wrap it around outdoor pipes, secure it with a string or tape, and you can be assured your pipes won’t burst.
7. Line your storage box
Are your tools damaging the toolbox? Line it with bubble wrap, which will protect the interior from scrapes and scratches.
8. Add to handles for protection…
Wrap it and tape it around brooms or tools to protect your hands from sores and blisters. The bubble wrap will soften the friction.
9. … or for a better grip
The same technique can be applied for a better grip. This way your tools won’t slip out of your hands and you will feel more secure working with them.
10. Protect your knees
Are you a gardening lover and are on your knees a lot? Put some bubble wrap on the ground and protect your knees from hard surfaces.
11. Keep animals away
You can also wrap bubble wrap around your garden to protect it from smaller animals and rodents.
12. Cushion food in the fridge
Some fruit and vegetables go bad on the hard surface of the fridge. Line your fridge with bubble wrap, so you cushion the contact between the fridge and the food.
13. Dust protector
Planning a longer trip? Cover your couch and your furniture with bubble wrap and protect it from collecting dust.
14. Go thrifting with it
The main purpose of bubble wrap is item protection. Bring it with you if you’re planning on thrifting some furniture so that it won’t break during transport.
15. Create art
Bubble wrap can also be used creatively. You can make some unique art as a press or by using it as a canvas.
Where to donate bubble wrap?
Where to donate bubble wrap? Here are my tips.
Before you throw it in the trash, consider donating this fun packaging material to charity organizations like Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity.
They use it for packing fragile items as well as insulation around windows.
Or you can give it to your friends and family when they are moving. You can also put an ad on Craigslist for Freecycle.
Your local post office. Many post offices accept bubble wrap for recycling as part of their normal operations.
The same goes for other government agencies like the U.S. Postal Service or state departments of transportation (DOT).
Is bubble wrap biodegradable?
While it is recyclable, is bubble wrap biodegradable?
Bubble wrap is not biodegradable. In fact, it’s made of plastic and will not break down in landfills or oceans.
Bubble wrap is made from polyethylene, which is a type of plastic. Plastic is made from petroleum and can take thousands of years to break down in landfills and oceans.
In addition to being non-biodegradable, bubble wrap can also be harmful to humans and animals if ingested or touched.
The plastic material can cause skin irritation, as well as respiratory and digestive problems when inhaled or ingested.
Is there recyclable bubble wrap?
Bubble wrap is recyclable, but it is not biodegradable. This means that bubble wrap can be turned into a new product, but will not break down in nature.
Currently, no company manufactures bubble wrap which is made from biodegradable materials.
So while bubble wrap may not be biodegradable, there are ways you can reduce the environmental impact by opting for eco-friendly alternatives like packing peanuts that are made from renewable resources such as corn starch.
Other biodegradable options are mushroom packaging, seaweed packaging, hexagonal cut paper, and others that are also made out of natural materials.
Can you recycle bubble wrap at supermarkets?
Just like other soft plastics, such as plastic film and plastic bags, bubble wrap can be recycled at designated recycling bins.
Can you recycle bubble wrap at supermarkets? Yes, you can find the designated recycling bins at most supermarkets.
You can also try it at your local pharmacy, retailer, or local grocer.
Can bubble wrap be recycled at Tesco?
Ok, most supermarkets have designated recycling bins, but can bubble wrap be recycled at Tesco?
Bubble wrap is made from soft plastic that can in fact be recycled at Tesco. All soft plastics, including bubble wrap, can be put into recycling at every Tesco shop.
The company hopes to reduce the amount of plastic waste in its stores. Bubble wrap is one of the key items for this project as it’s one of the most common items found in our recycling bins.
Tesco has also taken steps to reduce its use of plastic by introducing reusable bags for fruit and vegetables.
Does Walmart recycle bubble wrap?
There are some things that Walmart does not recycle because they are not able to be recycled profitably. But, does Walmart recycle bubble wrap?
Walmart is one of the largest companies in the world and they are always looking for ways to improve their business and protect the environment.
The company has been working with How2Recycle to provide an easy way for customers to recycle soft plastics and other products that come into the store.
They have a list of collection places where you can leave your recyclable waste. At the collection places, you can leave plastic to recycle, including bubble wrap.
Frequently asked questions
Is bubble wrap recyclable in California?
The short answer is yes – bubble wrap is recyclable in California. However, it depends on each city. While you can recycle it in Arcadia, Long Beach, and Riverside, you cannot recycle it in Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, or Santa Monica.
Is bubble wrap recyclable in Maryland?
Generally, no. The majority of the counties in Maryland don’t accept bubble wrap in their recycling programs. However, bubble wrap and other soft plastics are recyclable at local grocery stores throughout the county.
Can bubble wrap go in the blue bin?
Bubble wrap is technically recyclable, but the majority of the curbside recycling programs do not accept it as it can clog their machinery. Unless the blue bin specifically states that you can put it in, it is not accepted.
Bubble wrap is a great way to protect items during shipping and storage. But what happens when the bubble wrap has been used and is no longer needed?
The good news is that most bubble wrap can be recycled. However, it typically isn’t accepted in curbside recycling programs, but there are several other ways to recycle it.
Check at your local grocery store or pharmacy.
Have any more questions about recycling bubble wrap? Leave a comment and I will get back to you.