How can I reuse or recycle … popped bubble wrap?

Bubble wrapThe moulded polystyrene post last week reminded me that we haven’t thought about that other packaging staple yet – bubble wrap.

The most obvious re-use is to, well, just re-use it for its intended purpose again – but has any one got any interesting suggestions other than just packing up items for the mail or for storage?

And what if some dastardly scamp (usually me in our house) has popped all the bubbles? It loses its padding and protective qualities but I bet it can still be used for other things. Suggestions?

(Photo by fish)

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27 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … popped bubble wrap?”


  1. Sue says:

    Use to wrap around delicate plants during the winter frost

  2. Natron says:

    I’ve seen it used to make women’s under garments. Not so classy, but at that point, who cares ?

  3. If it’s a large enough sheet, then use if for insulation in the greenhouse, loft (attic) or car, or maybe as cheap window frosting, for those rooms where you want some privacy, but still want to allow light in through the window.

  4. Tien says:

    In college I made graduation invitations out of it. I took some red card stock and bubble wrap, cut it into squares larger than the invitation. Then, I simply stapled the invitation inside. The invitation had a big graphic text on it that was readable. Of course, one had to tear through the bubble wrap to get to the invitation, but it was neat, nonetheless.

    Another idea is to use it to “paint” with. Roll paint on it and then lay it on a surface. Should produce a neat pattern.

    Roll it up and make it into a “travel pillow”.

    Lay it under carpet to surprise the kids that walk over it.

    Take a syringe and inject it with colored water. Seal hole with superglue – could be a fun light catcher.

    Make your own padded envelopes by spray adhering it to paper… cut, fold and glue.

    Lampshade diffuser.

    If it’s big bubble wrap, cut out the individual bubbles without popping them. Drop them in a vase as fill.

    Playful table mats for kids. Pop as they eat.

  5. zil says:

    I once saw pink bubblewrap used as a curtain/divider, actually on stage but you could probably do it in a room as well. It looked fabulous with a light behind it. You would need big pieces though.

  6. Lesley says:

    I once saw bubblewrap used as a charity money raiser! This had the bubbles intact, because the idea was that people paid money to burst the bubbles – and people were queuing up to do it!

  7. Vikki says:

    you could fold it or roll it up into a bath pillow. if there is still at least some air inside, it should float.

  8. Vikki says:

    oh and i also saw someone make bags out of it once. used different coloured electrical tape to hold it together and around pockets and stuff. it looked really cool!

  9. Nigello says:

    My arty neighbour used the bg bubbled kind in an art project. She cut a slit in each bubble and then placed items in them like shells, beads, buttons etc.
    You could also used it as a wine coverer to keep it cool. Just wrap it and tape it and it will keep wine chilled. Perfect for picnics.

  10. Debbie says:

    Shower curtain

  11. sigrid says:

    I put the popped plastic with my plastic bags which I take to my grocery store which recycles the plastic. If it hasn’t been popped, I put it with my packing materials to use for it’s original purpose later. Some companies that do a lot of shipping will accept it for reuse.

  12. clare says:

    I made christmas cards out of bubblewrap one year, I used a bright red OHP permenent pen to write on the smooth side.

  13. Diane says:

    Donate it to preschools or daycare centers we use it as a great sensory activity- having the little ones run jump and march on it. They LOVE it!

  14. riri says:

    I would just pop it and throw it away. Popping bubble wrap is awsome. Alternatley you could sell it to naive children to pop, then donate the outrageous profits to charity, or to yourself! I’m such a bastard.

  15. Lo-couk says:

    With the use of a roll of sticky tape popped bubble wrap can still be used to make an effective emergancy condom. The odd buble left over adds to sensation.

  16. Sam says:

    Work for a large warehouse and the only thing we cant recycle is bubble wrap. All your ideas are great and will take it back to our green team…. I also heard that local animal aid units like it as it is used to keep the animals warm and used for insulation.

  17. Amber says:

    It’s still good, even if all of the bubbles are popped. I still save it to wrap up delicate things. You’ll need a little more than usual, but it works fine for fragile items.

  18. Katie says:

    I use my bubble wrap for when I go freezer shopping, I wrap up my peas, chips etc and as it’s a good insulator my food isn’t de-frosted by time I get home.

  19. Karen says:

    use to fill decorative pillow cases – I just did this with styrofoam that came in shipping, but the bubble wrap would have been even better [less messy] – I have no idea what happened to the original pillow fillers…

  20. Bubble wrap says:

    Don’t forget that it can still be recycled if you don’t use any of these great ideas. Just don’t send it to landfill.

  21. DAVID says:

    why do make a ballgown out of it if you have enough bubblewrap because I saw this done on the flicker website.

  22. I made a skirt from bubble wrap for Hogmany 1989/90 I think it was and it was for a costume to say good-bye to the 80′s, mine was for the ozone layer.

    (HOGMANY for those who don’t know is New Year’s Eve in Scotland)

  23. Linnie says:

    Donate it to charity shops so that they can wrap customers bric-a-brac up in.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think giving it to a charity shop a good idea ,problem is I,’ll loose the newspaper which I put in the compost bin.

  24. Jasmin says:

    I made a jacket out of bubble warp for an art project. It looks a bit weird but class mates like to wear it in the cold art room in the winter, it keeps you really warm. They’re really easy to make, the needle and thread work as if it were normal material, and it the stiching isn’t that great sticking tape holds it together really well. You can stick decorations on it to make it look pretty and it all holds together.

  25. Ann says:

    Found this great Youtube video about a art exhibition about “bubble wrap”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjHE4sLWjKc&feature=player_embedded#



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