Bubble wrap, the thin, air-filled plastic sheets that save your goods from getting bruised or broken while in transit and are so satisfying to pop with your fingers (read: guilty pleasures), not only have a strange history of being but its making is also quite interesting.
A few years back, Sealed Air (the originator of bubble wrap) has released a video as to how their wraps are made. From the video, we can see how the small resin pellets are transformed into sheets of air-filled plastics.
Check out the video:
The video went viral and the netizens were stunned. But the firm told a leading newspaper that the clip was made specially to cheer up a 12-year-old leukaemia fighter Naomi. Naomi had written to Sealed Air requesting a box of colourful bubble wrap and asking how these wraps were made. The firm happily obliged and sent her a DVD of the video along with a huge box full of bubble wrap.
So, How is Bubble Wrap Made?
You will be amazed to find out that bubble wrap starts existing as tiny, resin beads, around the size of rice grains. Different kinds of resins are used for different purposes and those are combined to form what we know as bubble wrap. The tiny resin beads are melted down altogether at over 450°Celsius, during which they melt and combine into thin sheets which act as the base of the bubble wrap. These sheets are then flattened to the desired thickness before they are being fed through rollers that have small holes in them. These rollers come with holes in different sizes, creating large and small bubble wrap.
As the sheets travel over those rollers, the air is vacuumed onto it, and push into the small holes, creating the air bubbles providing the perfect protective qualities.
After the air bubbles are blown into the sheets, it’s then run through another set of bigger rollers which seal it with another layer of the sheet. With this method, the air is trapped inside and makes sure that it remains trapped inside. Finally, its width is reduced and perforated to roll up into massive rolls of bubble wrap.
Who Invented Bubble Wrap?
Bubble wrap was invented in 1957 by two individuals Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes. Marc and Alfred and Marc were looking forward to design and create a 3D wallpaper by sealing shower curtains together. When this invention didn’t work out, they tried to pass it as a “greenhouse insulator”, but even that did not succeed much.
It wasn’t until years later in 1961, when people realised the safe packaging that the two sealed sheets provided.
With Sealed Air Corporation, the name ‘Bubble Wrap’ came into being, with IBM as their first major customer who used these bubble wraps to protect their computers.
Over 50 years down the line, it is now used across the world and is probably one of the most loved packaging materials that are used during the shipment of goods.
Is Bubble Wrap Recyclable?
These safety sheets not only act as one of the most popular packaging supplies by providing excellent protection to goods, whatever size they may be in but they may be recycled too. Yes, your favourite stress buster (which is superbly helpful if you have a business) is green. They may look like plastic but aren’t made of polythene.
There are numerous methods you could do to recycle it. You can have a word with a few nearby recycling clubs to could collect it from you, or you could accumulate and take it to any recycling collection centre.
If you are looking for more eco-friendly packaging supplies, there are recycled, green bubble wraps too, which are made from at least 15 per cent recycled polythene that has a lesser effect on the environment and is made completely recyclable after usage. It is made available to be green in colour that will help people identify it.