Is bubble packaging recyclable?

Recycling bubble packaging: options & opportunities

Bubble packaging, including bubble wrap and bubble mailers, is often used to protect goods during shipping and transport. As a plastic sheet with air bubbles, it is commonly used with fragile or delicate goods to provide them with cushioning.

Bubble packaging is made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and is often classified as a plastic film. Unfortunately, since many recycling machines are built to handle hard plastics, LDPEs are regarded as contaminants because they frequently clog the machines. Therefore, although bubble packaging can be recycled, it needs to be brought to specific recycling centers that can process these soft, flexible plastics. Through this specialized process, the bubble packaging will be transformed into plastic pellets which are then used for other products. Before recycling your bubble packaging, make sure to have popped the air out of them and ensure they are clean, dry, and free of debris such as stickers.

In addition to being reused for future shipping or transport needs, bubble packaging can help insulate homes or plants during colder months. To reduce environmental impact, brands may also consider exploring alternatives such as packing paper, old fabrics, compostable products, or starch-based packaging peanuts.