Bubble wrap recycling and disposal

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Everything You Need To Know About Bubble Wrap.

Since its invention in 1957, Bubble Wrap has been used for a variety of commercial purposes. It is typically used in packaging, or to protect fragile items during transportation or storage, by providing them with appropriate cushioning. However, it has also been used for gardening, home insulation and is even featured in the museum of modern art.

Its continuous popularity means that it has remained in constant demand. In fact, it’s estimated that around 240,000 miles of Bubble Wrap are produced each year in the UK alone (Transpack, 2017). While Bubble Wrap recycling is entirely possible, many consumers fail to realise this, meaning that it is often sent to landfills instead of the appropriate recycling facility.

As a result, whether you use Bubble Wrap in the running of your business or daily life, you must dispose of the materials safely and appropriately. That’s where this handy guide comes in!

What is Bubble Wrap made of?

Bubble Wrap is a form of plastic waste because it is made from Low-density Polyethylene (LDP). LDP is durable yet highly malleable plastic which means that it is very flexible and is often used to create plastic films such as Bubble Wrap, sandwich bags and clingfilm.

How is Bubble Wrap made?

The following process is used to create Bubble Wrap.

    Tiny beads of resin are gradually heated until they combine into a thin film.
    The film is flattened through rollers.
    Small holes are made in the film.
    The holes are filled with air using a vacuum to create the signature ‘bubbles’.
    The Bubble Wrap is then cut to size.

Bubble Wrap disposal

When disposed of alongside your general waste, Bubble Wrap will likely end up in yet another pile of waste at a landfill site. In these instances, it can take upwards of 500 years to completely decompose. As a result, disposing of Bubble Wrap through this channel is incredibly detrimental to the environment, contributing significantly to climate change and global warming. Therefore, business owners must take full responsibility for any Bubble Wrap used within their daily operations and ensure that its disposal is part of their waste management plan.

Is Bubble Wrap Recyclable?

As mentioned previously, Bubble Wrap, along with other forms of LDPE, can be recycled – though the process is a little more complex than traditional recycling. This is because Bubble Wrap, and other soft films, can clog the machinery typically used to recycle plastic waste.

Which bin should it go in?

When disposing of Bubble Wrap, you must store Bubble Wrap separately from the rest of your waste. For example, it should not be stored with your Dry Mixed Recycling or with general plastics. At Business Waste, we can provide you with a range of free bins that can be used to safely and securely store waste before collection, helping the process of recycling run that much smoother.

Alternatively, those looking to dispose of Bubble Wrap used within their home can find specialist bins and collection points at local supermarkets and shopping centres.

How is Bubble Wrap Recycled?

Bubble Wrap is usually recycled through the use of specialised machinery, designed to break LDPE into smaller, more manageable pieces. Once broken down, the pieces are turned into small pellets through a process known as compounding. The pellets can then be turned into a variety of products such as:

    Bin bags/bins
    Furniture
    Flooring
    Pipes

This is an excellent example of closed-loop recycling. However, part of the difficulty associated with disposing of Bubble Wrap and LDPE is that it could be contaminated depending upon the materials it has come into contact with. As a result, you should ensure you clean the product where possible and remove any labels. Bubble Wrap should also be popped before disposal.

Can you reuse Bubble Wrap?

While you must recycle Bubble Wrap, there are also plenty of ways in which you can re-use ahead of time. For example, Bubble Wrap can be used:

    To keep your plants or compost insulate during the winter months.
    To prevent items such as plates or glasses from scratching.
    As extra insulation throughout your home, including window insulation.

What Are Some Bubble Wrap Alternatives

In this day and age, it’s important that all businesses are taking strides to improve and expand upon their environmental policies. One way in which you could begin this journey is by researching and testing alternatives to traditional Bubble Wrap. This could include:

    Recycled Bubble Wrap
    Packing Paper
    Old Sheets
    Old Towels
    Shredded Paper
    Hay or Straw
    Feathers
    Corrugated packaging (cardboard)

bubble wrap disposal

Fun Facts About Bubble Wrap

While Bubble Wrap is now used almost exclusively for packaging, creators Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes were actually trying to create a form of textured Wallpaper.

Each year, enough Bubble Wrap is created globally to cover the distance between the earth and the moon.

The 27th of January is National Bubble Wrap Day.

If you’re unable to resist popping bubble wrap whenever you see it, you aren’t alone. In fact, there are plenty of studies out there that suggest it may even be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.

Bubble Wrap recycling with Business Waste.

At Business Waste, we’re always on hand to help with your waste disposal needs – whether that relates to Bubble Wrap or hazardous waste such as chemicals. Not only will we provide you with the appropriate bins and storage containers, but we’ll also work closely with you to put together a waste management and collection plan that meets your needs.

When trusting BusinessWaste to dispose of your Bubble Wrap, you can rest easy knowing that we have access to a range of specialist equipment and recycling facilities and treat landfill as an absolute last resort. For more information and a free quote, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today. We look forward to hearing from you!

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