Can You Recycle Bubble Wrap?

Bubble wrap is perfect for moving houses, gift-wrapping and shipment of packages.
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / PublicDomainPictures

Not sure where to recycle your bubble wrap? Although not suitable for curbside recycling collection, you can still recycle your unused bubble wrap easily. Here we outline simple steps you can take to make sure it is always recycled properly as well as share four eco-friendly alternatives for bubble wrap.

Yes bubble wrap is certainly recyclable, but you need to avoid placing it with your so-called ‘hard plastics’ – these are recyclable items such as containers, bottles, jugs and so on, all of which can be recycled curbside. Plastics such as bubble wrap should be grouped with other soft plastics and brought to designated drop-offs for ‘plastic film’ recyclables. This typically means items such as bread bags, soft plastic wrapping, plastic bags, and shrink wrapping.

How to Recycle Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is recyclable, you just need to find the correct drop-off point in your neighborhood.
Bubble wrap is recyclable, you just need to find the correct drop-off point in your neighborhood.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / pank2y)

Bubble wrap should be recycled with other plastic films at specific recycling bins found in your local neighborhood. These bins are normally located in grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail outlets and the bins are clearly marked.

If you are having trouble finding a designated recycle bin for bubble wrap, you can search for one in the area at www.plasticfilmrecycling.org. Just hit the ‘Find a Drop-Off Location’ tab and enter your zip-code to find the nearest one to you.

How to Re-use Bubble Wrap

Even before recycling bubble wrap, you should think of ways to simply reuse it and maybe save a few pennies in the process.

It is of course perfect for packing, so consider stashing your bubble wrap away for that next big residential move, travel idea, gift-wrapping or shipment of packages. Bubble wrap can be folded or rolled up compactly for storage, just avoid popping those all-important bubbles in the process.

Can You Recycle Bubble Mailers?

Just like bubble wrap, bubble mailers need to be recycled separate to your usual curbside collection. If your used bubble mailer is made only of plastic film, you can bundle it with the rest of your plastic bags, soft plastic wrappings and bubble wrap for recycling at designated drop-off points. Be sure to recycle bubble mailers that are dry and free of dirt and remove as much paper coating or adhesive labels as you can before drop-off. 

Four Eco-Friendly Alternatives for Bubble Wrap

1. Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

Very similar to typical foam packing, corn starch packing peanuts offer the exact same protective properties, with the added bonus of being completely bio-degradable. These handy packing peanuts are so eco-friendly they can be dissolved in water or simply thrown into your compost. It’s a great alternative to bubble wrap.

2. Corrugated Recycled Paper Wrapping

An extremely popular packing product in the US, corrugated cardboard is manufactured using 100 percent recyclable materials and is of course reusable. It is produced using fast-growing pine or birch trees which are relatively cheap and sustainable options when it comes to the timber industry as a whole.

3. GreenWrap

Thanks to its design, paper-based GreenWrap offers the same flexibility and protection that bubble wrap provides. It is ideal for those delicate items that need extra care when being shipped. Best of all, it is entirely bio-degradable and recyclable.

4. Mushroom Packaging

An eco-friendly alternative to foam, mushroom packaging offers the same properties as foam with the added bonus of being entirely bio-degradable. Surprisingly mushroom packaging is a little stronger than foam and is produced using renewable sources.

Extra Tip

Since paper is highly recyclable, choosing paper wrapping is one of the cheapest and most eco-friendly ways to go.

There are plenty of options available such as recycled craft paper, old newspapers, recycled tissue paper, ornament paper shred and crinkle paper filler.

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