Can you recycle bubble wrap in the UK? Bubble wrap plays a critical role in protecting fragile items. Although it was originally designed and introduced as a textured wallpaper it has since boomed in the packaging industry. However like any other plastic derivatives, they can take well over 500 years to decompose. This is why recycling bubble wrap is so important. In this article we are going to explore if bubble wrap can be recycled in the UK, if so where you can recycle them. We will also discover eco alternatives.
Can you recycle bubble wrap in the UK?
In a nutshell, YES! It is indeed possible to recycle bubble wrap in the UK. There are a number of recycling centres which are dedicated to doing just that. They are located all over the United Kingdom and include firms such as Recycled UK Limited, Recycled Plastic UK Limited, and the Biffa Edinburgh Recycling Facility.
Where can you dispose of bubble wrap?
- Mail-in Programs– Some recycling firms and manufacturers of bubble wrap operate mail-in programs. Under this arrangement, the user of the used bubble wrap needs to package and send them back via courier to the firms that recycle them. A key example of these firms is the Sealed Air Corporation, which incidentally invented bubble wrap and also holds the official trademark.
- Household Recycling Bins– Some councils have started to allow bubble wrap to put in the household recycling bin. However, this service is currently limited. Please check with your local council before putting bubble wrap in your recycling bin.
- National drop off Collection programmes– bubble wrap can be recycled along with plastic film and carrier bags at collection points dotted around the UK. These are usually located supermarkets and some pharmacies.
Eco alternatives to bubble wrap:
Bubble wrap is mainly made of plastic which causes a long-term environmental impact. Thankfully, there are a number of eco-friendly alternatives which can be used instead of bubble wrap. These alternatives include:
- Oxo-degradable bubble wrap: This biodegradable bubble wrap along with other biodegradable cornstarch plastics are a more environmentally friendly form of protective packaging than standard bubble wrap. Oxo-degradable bubble wrap is 100% recyclable. as it is treated with raw materials which do not contain heavy metals. This bubble wrap will be turn into carbon dioxide, water and biomass when exposed to the combined effects of sunlight, stress, microbes and heat as this combination allows it to be digested by harmless micro-organisms.
- Biodegradable air pillows: These biodegradable air pillows are ideal for filling large voids or spaces in parcels. Trapped air provides a protective cushioning barrier for your good.
- Biodegradable Air Peanuts: 100% Bio Degradable and manufactured from vegetable starch these make a good eco friendly alternative. They are generally lighter and highly perforated to allow for the inflow of sufficient volumes of air. This way, they also work to maintain the items fresh and less inclined to damages.
- Paper bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and CushionPaper box: Papers and cardboards are recyclable, compostable, eco-friendly, and reusable. like bubble wrap, it’s flexible in the direction in which it is rolled so it can easily be wrapped around even small objects. These materials also have the added advantage of being firmer and hence more likely to provide better support than bubble wrap.
- Magazines and newspapers: Re-using old magazines and newspapers is a cheap easy access alternative which does a good job of protecting fragile products.
Ways to reuse bubble wrap:
Although you can recycle bubble wrap you can also reuse it for many things including:
- DIY bubble wrap greenhouse. Bend stiff wire into hoops and place over your seed trays, attach your bubble wrap over the hoops making a small slit in the roof to allow an easy access water hole and the plants to be able to breath and there you have it your own mini greenhouses.
- Placing a layer of bubble wrap on the shelves in your fridge can help stop your fruit and vegetables from getting bruised. Wrapping bananas in bubble wrap and putting them in the fridge can slow down the blackening process.
- you can keep to one side and use for shipping your own packages when needed.
- Stuffing shoes and handbags with bubble wrap to help them keep their shape.
- Lining shopping bags with bubble wrap can help to stop your frozen food from defrosting before you get home.
- Protect your plants from frost by wrapping bubble wrap around their pots also lining your greenhouse with bubble wrap helps to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
- Covering your car windscreen with bubble wrap in the winter helps to stop it from frosting over.
- To prepare flower and vegetable patches before planting, you can place old bubble wrap over the soil for approximately six weeks to kill any weeds.
- Insulate your compost bin. This will help to rise the temperature which will help decompose the contents of your compost bin quicker.