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Is Bubble Wrap Recyclable – Updated Guide

Bubble wrap is more than just the classic air packager for fragile packages.

These plastic packets are still the go-to choice for wrapping and packaging fragile cargo, including artwork that is being stored or transported.

Bubble wrap is multi-purpose and can be reused after being popped, but don’t try to pop all of it — they need time to bounce back too!

What is bubble wrap made of?

Bubble wrap is made of a plastic film, usually made from PVC.

It is produced by pumping air through a heated roll of plastic film, causing bubbles to form in the material.

This process creates one of the most common types of packing material used today.

Bubble wrap is made from polyethylene, a type of plastic that isn’t biodegradable.

But it’s recyclable, so if you have bubble wrap that you want to recycle, there are a few steps you need to take first.

You’ll also want to know local regulations regarding what types of plastics can be recycled and where your city or town accepts its curbside collection program.

How to Reuse bubble wrap

Bubble wrap is a versatile product that can be reused in many different ways.

Here are some fun ideas:

  1. Use as packing material. Bubble wrap effectively protects fragile items during shipment, especially when combined with other materials such as newspaper or crumpled plastic bags. Just be sure to recycle it after you’ve used it for shipping.
  2. Make your bubble wrap toy. Cut up some old bubble wrap into small squares and thread them onto a piece of string or ribbon for a fun new toy for kids!
  3. Use it as packing material again! If you’re planning on sending something fragile in the mail again, use bubble wrap once more as additional protection! It’s also great for protecting dishes during shipping if you don’t want to risk breakage, as I do!
  4. Make a giant bubble wrap cushion for your kids’ room or living room couch! This is perfect if you have kids who enjoy playing with their toys outside (or inside) because they won’t ruin anything by having the fun

Ways to Reuse bubble wrap

Make a sleeping mat

Bubble wrap can be an alternative to foam or camping mats, making it ideal for children’s sleepovers or even at home.

Relieve stress

You can pop bubble wrap to relieve stress and anxiety.

The repetitive popping sound is known as “benign irrelevance” — you do it without thinking about it, so your mind won’t focus on anything else.

It also helps you relax because it feels good to break things!

Protect your plants

If you have plants outside but don’t want them exposed to the elements, you can protect them by covering them with bubble wrap before putting them out in the sun or rain.

This will keep them warmer and make them less likely to wilt or die prematurely due to harsh weather conditions such as wind or frost damage.

Line your toolbox.

If you have a box that needs lining with something soft but protective, bubble wrap is an excellent choice.

It’s also suitable for lining drawers or shelves where items could break if they fall against each other or hard surfaces (like pots and pans).

Make handle cushions.

If you have any type of handbag or backpack with handles (or even a purse), consider using bubble wrap as a cushion! This will help prevent blisters from being rubbed against your skin when carrying heavy loads over long distances.

Blisters can also form on other parts of your body if carrying heavy loads like backpacks, briefcases, or even groceries!

Stop car frost

Bubble wrap can prevent frost on car windows during cold weather.

Simply lay down a sheet of bubble wrap over the window, then place another sheet of newspaper over the bubble wrap.

Secure these pieces with tape, so they don’t move around as you drive.

This will keep the frost off your windshield so you can see where you’re going better!

Insulate windows

Open up a sheet of bubble wrap, lay it on your window, and then tape it down with duct tape along the top and bottom edges.

You will then have an insulation layer on your windows that will keep your house warm during winter.

Blister prevention

If you have shoes that you don’t want to get blisters while wearing, place a sheet of bubble wrap between the sole of your shoe and your foot before putting them on.

This will prevent blisters from forming or make existing ones fade faster by reducing friction between your foot and shoe sole.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is bubble wrap biodegradable?

Bubble wrap is made from a thin plastic called polyethylene.

It can be recycled, but it’s not fully biodegradable because it doesn’t break down into smaller pieces over time.

Plastic is usually mixed with other materials like paper and cardboard to make it stronger.

What can you do with old bubble wrap?

You can reuse bubble wrap in many ways around the house.

For example, you can use it as padding for fragile items when moving or storing them or as packing material for shipping products that need extra protection during transit.

You can also cut the bubble wrap into smaller pieces and use them to make crafts like Christmas decorations, stuffed animals, and more!


Does bubble wrap need to be popped before it’s recycled?

No, popping your bubble wrap is entirely optional! Bubble wrap can be recycled as-is.

Because it’s made of PVC, bubble wrap is 100% recyclable.

If you want to pop your bubble wrap before recycling it, there are several ways you can do it.


In the end, if you’re interested in giving bubble wrap a second chance by recycling it, lots of materials will help you do just that.

Bubble Wrap is now available in 100% recyclable form, with the bubbles sealed separately.

But it’s still up to each company whether or not they will use the eco-friendly stuff.

If you want to cut back on your bubble wrap waste, you can best talk to your company about adopting this new and eco-friendly bubble wrap.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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