Do you usually use bubble wrap to safely ship items?
At least each of us has received countless programs with the contents packed in them.
Using more environmentally friendly alternatives to bubble wrap, we can save a significant amount of plastic waste.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the problems with bubble wrap and list some great eco-friendly and safe alternatives to “bubble wrap”.
The extent of the plastic packaging problem
Plastic bubble wrap has been the first choice for packaging materials for shipping for decades.
It is usually made transparent, is cheap, and is good for protecting mail.
However, it is important to know that there are better (plastic-free) alternatives that are equally effective.
Companies that think sustainably are increasingly turning to biodegradable packaging solutions.
5 environmentally friendly alternatives to bubble wrap
The following products are some practical alternatives to plastic bubble wrap that are becoming increasingly popular with businesses and individual consumers alike.
While some of these can be found in stores that sell packaging and shipping supplies, all of them can be purchased online as well.
Read below which sustainable solutions are available and which of them are ideal for you.
1. Biodegradable packaging chips
Conventional Styrofoam filling material, like plastic bubble wrap, is not environmentally friendly.
But there are definitely biodegradable “packaging peanuts” as a clever alternative to bubble wrap and Styrofoam filling material.
These eco-friendly packaging chips are usually made from starch or other biodegradable materials and decompose easily without harming the environment.
Most of the time, these vegetable filling materials are even antistatic so that they won’t stick to hands, clothing or other surfaces.
2. Corrugated cardboard
Corrugated cardboard consists – as the name suggests – of cardboard or paper and is therefore biodegradable and harmless to the health and environment.
It is recyclable and compostable and, of course, fulfils its purpose of padding and protecting the items to be sent.
While this type of packaging material may not be the safest alternative for very delicate products (so think carefully before using it to protect glass items), it can safely be used with many other products.
3. Shredded paper
Shredded paper scraps are a great practical alternative to bubble wrap as they are completely compostable and very dampening.
They are not only comparatively affordable but also particularly effective in their protective effect. The paper usually comes in a compressed form and expands when you use it.
One downside to using this type of filler material is that you may need to use a little more when packing fragile materials like glassware.
However, since scraps of paper are inexpensive and often (depending on the manufacturer) made from recycled paper, they are a great environmentally friendly option to replace plastic.
4. Wrapping paper
Some companies particularly like to use crumpled paper to fill the voids between the product and shipping packaging and thus protect the products during shipping.
Typically sold as a roll, this type of wrapping paper prevents items in the outer packaging from sliding around, providing cushioning and protection.
The disadvantage is that the cushioning effect may not be sufficient for very fragile or sensitive items.
However, wrapping paper is effective for securing items in their shipping containers.
5. Mushroom packaging
Mushroom packaging made from mushroom roots is an environmentally friendly new packaging material that is easy to compost.
Many big companies are realizing the benefits of this invention and, going forward, will use organic and fully compostable mushroom packaging instead of polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam) for packaging their computers and furniture.
There are no toxic substances released in the process of making this material, and you can easily compost it in your garden. So this is actually a wonderfully green alternative to plastic packaging.
Creative and future solutions
When shipping items, keep in mind that you can use other items to replace the bubble wrap that you usually have at home.
For example, do you still have plastic bags lying around? Ball them up to use as filling and cushioning material.
Newspapers, catalogues, and old clothes can also be used for upholstery and restocking.
Also, keep an eye out for other innovative, environmentally friendly packaging materials such as algae, seaweed, bagasse and palm fibres.
There is absolutely no reason to keep using bubble wrap, which is so harmful to our environment and health.
As we have seen in this article, there are many better alternatives, all of which are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and non-toxic.