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Can Bubble Wrap be Recycled? (Plus 4 Common Ways to Reuse It)

Can Bubble Wrap be Recycled? (Plus 4 Common Ways to Reuse It)
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There are a few universal truths in life which can be agreed upon by everyone. Having an ice cold drink of your choice on a hot day is always refreshing. 

It’s also hard to go wrong with laying under a blanket next to a fireplace on a chilly autumn night. And if you are ever in possession of some bubble wrap, you have to at least pop one of the bubbles before setting it down.

Although it’s fun to pop some of the bubbles on bubble wrap, what do you do with the bubble wrap once you’ve taken it out of the package you received? Can it be recycled at all? Should it just go in the trash? Are there any other uses which bubble wrap can be used for? 

Within this article, I’ll give you the answers you are looking for, and hopefully show you that bubble wrap can be used for more than just popping bubbles.

Can You Recycle Bubble Wrap?

When it comes to recycling, there is a large spectrum of actions which people take. If you tend to lean on the side of recycling, then you’ll be happy to know that bubble wrap is recyclable. However, it is not something you can recycle with your plastic bottles and cardboard boxes.

If you do recycle the bubble wrap, you should first pop all the bubbles (see, there is some fun involved), and once this is complete, you should take it to the same recycling area where you will recycle plastic bags. 

Since plastic bags can’t be put in the same bins as plastic or glass bottles, you will typically find a place to recycle plastic bags and bubble wrap at the front of most grocery stores. There will typically be a box, or a large barrel, and you can drop off all your plastic bags and bubble wrap in this area. 

You might also find a local recycling center, where they will take everything at once; just know that they will typically want the bubble wrap to be tied up in some sort of a bag before dropping off.

Common Ways to Reuse Bubble Wrap

Perhaps you don’t currently recycle plastic bags, or it might just sound like too much work. Are there other options for you to reuse, rather than recycle, your bubble wrap? 

There are a few different household hacks you can use bubble wrap for which you may or may not have thought about but will make sense. One thing to keep in mind with all of these; if you are going to reuse bubble wrap, it is highly recommended you keep as many of the bubbles intact as possible.

1 – Use It for Repackaging

The first reuse option is an obvious one; reuse the bubble wrap when you package something. You might not think you have a lot of packages, but you will almost always be buying birthday, anniversary, or possibly Christmas gifts. 

Even if you buy something small, you can always make sure it is fully protected in bubble wrap. You already spent the money on a gift, and there is nothing wrong with ensuring it stays safe until the time it is opened. 

You might also buy a package which needs to be shipped to someone. If this is the case, then you definitely want some bubble wrap to protect whatever it is you are shipping and help with making sure the gift does not move while in the package.

2 – Use It to Protect Your Valuables When Moving

Another way that bubble wrap can be used is when you are moving, or if you know someone who is moving. You could also donate the bubble wrap to a local charity which helps with moving people. 

Anytime you are packing up valuables within a house, bubble wrap is always welcome, as you want to ensure everything stays in the same condition in which it was when it was packed up. 

It doesn’t matter if you only have one piece of bubble wrap, or if you have a whole roll, any piece of bubble wrap will be better than newspaper or even a towel or a blanket around an item. 

These next hacks will be dependent upon your weather climate and for how long that weather climate lasts.

3 – Use It for Temperature Control in Your Home

If you live in an area which can get cold, especially during the winter, then you already probably use some form of plastic on your windows to help keep warm air inside and to keep cold air outside. Well, instead of using a thin sheet of plastic, you can use your bubble wrap to actually wrap your windows. 

In a similar manner as you use the sheet of plastic, you can attach the bubble wrap to the windows, and then you do not have to worry about using a hair dryer to help smooth the plastic out. 

Due to bubble wrap typically being thicker, it will do a better job of keeping the warm and cold air where it should be, and there is less of a chance of having to replace it due to a tear. Then, once the weather has turned from winter into spring, you can use the bubble wrap for the next hack.

4 – Use It to Protect Your Garden

Once spring has sprung, you might have a garden where you plant some flowers or vegetables or fruit. When this happens, you typically have to plant early to ensure you have a full season of what you want. 

Because of this, there might be some nights where you have to worry about frost. If your plants experience any frost, it will kill what you have planted, and you will have to start all over. 

You might already have a system in place to help protect against this, but if not, then you can use your bubble wrap to help protect your garden area. If you lay the bubble wrap around and on top of your garden, the bubble wrap is thick enough that it will protect your flowers and garden during a time of frost. 

Once the night is complete, it is very easy to pick up and store for your next project.

When it comes to your garden, you might also think about lining the outside of the garden with bubble wrap. By placing the bubble wrap on the ground around the perimeter, bubble side up, the bubbles will pop anytime an animal comes close to the garden. 

This will act as a double alert system. It will help scare away any animals which would be interested in your garden, as well as let you know, if you are within earshot, that an animal was attempting to get into the garden area. 

This is especially true of deer, so if you live in a rural area and you want to keep animals out of your garden area, this is a highly recommended hack.

Alternative (And Unconventional) Uses for Bubble Wrap

There are a few other hacks which can be effective, but have a higher rate of needing to be replaced often. 

If you need to cushion your feet, you could use bubble wrap on your shoes, whether it is on the bottom of the shoe or within the shoe itself. However, that will obviously only last for so long, and if you use it on the outside, you will also have to use tape to hold it on. 

You can also use bubble wrap instead of knee pads, but once again, it will wear out pretty quick and you will need some heavy duty tape. 

Some people suggest you could use bubble wrap on the handle of some hand tools, but the warmer it becomes and the sweatier you become, there is a greater chance of the hand tool slipping out of your hand, or of the bubble wrap coming off the hand tool completely. 

You could reuse bubble wrap within drawers to help cut down on the noise an items makes when it hits the shelf. This is most popular within a tool box or even within a refrigerator. 

Some people have been known to put some bubble wrap around a steering wheel, or even on a chair which didn’t offer much support. You could even take this a step further and put down some bubble wrap on a bed to offer more cushion, or could make a bubble wrap blanket. 

One other option is to make some clothes out of the bubble wrap, especially a rain jacket, as the bubble wrap will help repel any water. 

No matter which of these options you choose, just remember the bubble wrap you use is durable, but it is not meant to be a long lasting product. 

The final option, which is always a great option, is to let kids just play with the bubble wrap. Although there is no doubt they will pop some of the bubbles, there are all kinds of craft projects which can be completed using bubble wrap. 

Plus, it is easy to use a marker or paint on bubble wrap, as it will dry nicely on the bubble wrap and hold color for a long time. Also, children can be very ingenious when it comes to crafts and other uses; you may never know what they might come up with!

Final Thoughts

Before reading this, you might have just thought you had another piece of trash to deal with when it came to your bubble wrap. 

However, between the possibility of recycling the bubble wrap, or reusing it to accomplish a large variety of projects, bubble wrap has hopefully transformed from something which can provide fun for a few seconds before being thrown away to a very useful and practical piece of material which you should always have around your household.

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