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Reusing Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap. Loved and used by many across the world for all sorts of things, from its primary protection use to stress relief (spend a few minutes popping bubbles and you’ll soon feel chilled out). We don’t know anyone who doesn’t love the stuff, but it does have its place in the evil plastics hall of fame when it’s not recycled correctly. Innocuous and useful it may be, but your average bubble wrap does not biodegrade, so simply throwing it away with your general waste isn’t good for the environment.

The good news is that bubble wrap can be recycled, and most (not all) local recycling centres will accept it in the UK alongside other common types of plastic. This does generally make it easy to get rid of in an eco-friendly way, but before you throw the towel in, have you considered it’s reuse capabilities?

Packaging Material

Bubble wrap is well known for its cushioning and protective properties, so sending it on as packaging material is a great idea, as long as the majority of bubbles are still intact. It also offers a degree of waterproofing when sealed well, which is definitely a plus point!

You might use it to package items that will then be sent on via courier, or you may use it to wrap items for a house or office move to give additional protection; whatever the packaging need is, reusing old bubble wrap in this way instead of buying new is a great idea.

Stress Reliever

As we said early, popping the bubbles in bubble wrap can be great for stress relief and carrying around a few squares in your pocket or bag to pop when you get a spare 5 mins can be quite therapeutic. Just be sure to recycle the used wrap correctly once all the bubbles have been popped.

Arts & Crafts

We haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t like playing with bubble wrap, so introducing it to the kids as part of messy play or arts and crafts works well (with correct supervision, especially for younger children). It lends itself really well to being stuck to all sorts of media; card, paper, cotton wool – you name it, bubble wrap’s been there.

As bubble wrap is made from plastic, it isn’t breathable, so we’d recommend cutting it into smaller pieces instead of one large roll, so it cannot easily cover the head / face of children. As above, supervision is required for children using this.


If you’re a keen gardener then bubble wrap could be your new best friend. Because it offers a good level of insulation, it can be used to line plant pots against the cold during the Winter months (be sure to leave the bottom of the pots open to allow for water drainage). It can also be used to wrap bigger plants against frost, or greenhouse windows to keep heat inside.

Bubble wrap suits

Wait – what? Before you think we’re on a crazy new fashion trend, bubble wrap suits are popular at Halloween (see here for one such example)  and make for a bit of fun with kids and adults alike. You  could recreate yourself as the bubble wrap Michelin Man, a jellyfish, Mr Blobby…it’s only limited by imagination.

People have also been known to create real bubble wrap type suits to wear (have you seen Dude, Where’s My Car?) – why not give it a go!

Author Rebecca Sturgess

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