E-commerce has boomed in the past few years since the 2020 pandemic, making shipping everything from soaps to produce a way of life. Often when you peel open that package dropped on your doorstep you'll find plastic packaging, such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts, keeping your valuables safe (and intact).
Tell me if this story sounds familiar:
You ordered something online and a few days later a larger-than-expected box arrives. Inside the box is the (smaller) item you ordered in a sea of plastic packaging. You recycle the box (good on you!) but that packaging goes into the trash more often than not. Bubble wrap, and similar plastic packaging, may do a great job at keeping valuables safe on their journey through the mail but it does a lot of harm to the environment in the process.
Why is bubble wrap bad for the environment?
Until 2008, bubble wrap was produced using plastic polymer film. The material is considered ecologically toxic, because it hundreds of years to disintegrate in landfills. Bubble wrap isn't just sitting around though, like many plastics it ends up making its way into the oceans polluting our waters and contributing to the massive Pacific garbage patch. Common plastic products including bubble wrap account for 46% of the nearly 14 million metric tons of new plastic waste that end up in oceans each year.
Next time you prep for that big move, you might be having some second thoughts about how you pack your breakables. Fortunately, there are plenty of eco friendly bubble wrap alternatives that provide just as much protection for your valuables without the environmental damage.
What can be used instead of bubble wrap?
Fortunately packaging has evolved over the years. Today there are tons of plastic-free and biodegradable options to stuff your boxes and keep shipped items safe without doing damage to the planet.
- Honeycomb paper
- Biodegradable Packing Peanuts.
- Compostable mailers
Browse our favorite eco-friendly bubble wrap alternatives below.
The best eco-friendly bubble wrap alternatives
1. Noissue compostable mailers
Materials: Made of 30% Corn Starch, 10-15% PLA (polylactic acid made from corn waste and other plants), 55-60% PBAT (biodegradable and will decompose leaving no toxic residues)
Brand ethics: Noissue is committed to reducing waste that comes with plastic packaging, they are committed to creating sustainable products as well as furthering environmental causes such as tree planting.
Noissue offers a variety of compostable mailers, giving you a waste-free way to ship or product fragile items. These mailers break down in 180 days at home, or 90 days in commercial compost. They also offer compostable labels to make the entire package waste-free.
Materials: Made of 100% medical grade silicone
Brand ethics: Ecoenclose is committed to making e-commerce a green industry through innovative and eco-friendly packaging solutions. As a company they are committed to being environmentally net-positive by 2030.
GreenWrap offers an eco-friendly paper alternative to bubble wrap by providing similar cushioning protection but is naturally biodegradable, compostable, and fully recyclable. Their wraps have two layers: a white tissue paper layer and a brown or white outer layer. GreenWrap molds around your products, taking up much less room than traditional plastic bubbles. Products can be wrapped individually in GreenWrap as you would with bubble wrap. It can also be used as a filler to create cushioning within a shipping box.