Bursting the Landfill Bubble – Recyclable Bubble Wrap

If you couldn’t tell from our Zero Landfill status and ongoing commitment, we care about the environment…a lot! One of the ways we were able to achieve this HUGE accomplishment and allow our Creative Community to reduce their footprint is through our bubble wrap. Yes, the stuff that not only protects all of your picture frames, custom prints and canvases but also creates a few minutes of popping entertainment when used correctly.

Some quick insight:

Plastics, like those used in traditional bubble wrap, can be problematic to recycle. It’s made with the same nylon ingredient found in plastic shopping bags. This nylon is difficult to breakdown and reproduce in new products. Some have toxic components that have to be extracted in the recycling process, and some can’t be recycled at all. The U.S. uses a large amount of plastic. Americans discarded 32 million tons in 2012 alone, representing 12.7% of all solid waste. Save the Bay discovered that 1.37 million plastic bags were removed from coastal areas worldwide in just one day and that of all the debris in our oceans, up to 90% of it is plastic. If these facts don’t scream for our help, we don’t know what does!

Until recently, most bubble wraps were made of 15-20% recycled materials and were end-of-the-line products – although they contained recycled material, they could not themselves be recycled.  Then a new wrap hit the market. This new bubble wrap was made from a minimum of 50% recycled material, so it could be recycled again after use.

So how does our bubble wrap help reduce your footprint?

Seeing progress in the bubble wrap market inspired us to reach out to one of our supplies to see if they would collaborate with us to develop something even better. Together we ideated, prototyped, and tested a bubble wrap that not only hit the 50% recycled material mark, but does it without incorporating nylon – so it can be recycled more easily, in more areas, by more people.  And it worked! You can recycle it with either #4 or #7 plastics.

Moore Recycling Associates

As a result of our collaboration, other of our supplier’s clients started shipping with this improved bubble wrap, making it even easier to recycle! And the process continues to evolve! Originally, this 50% recycled bubble wrap was only available in black, which you may recognize from your Pictureframes.com packaging. We now work with an additional supplier who produces a nylon-free, curbside recyclable clear version too. By working with two suppliers, we don’t need to worry about our one supplier running out of stock, forcing us to revert to a bubble wrap that is not recyclable. So no matter what color bubble wrap your beautiful creation arrives wrapped in, rest assured it is as environmentally friendly as possible!

We are committed to reaching for better solutions that sustain our planet. We haven’t stopped at developing the bubble wrap. Our team strives to decrease it’s carbon footprint in every way possible. Now we use larger rolls of bubble wrap in our workshop so we create less empty rolls. We are pushing not only to increase the potential to recycle, but reduce the waste we create as well.

Sometimes All It Takes Is A Push

This new, more recyclable bubble wrap isn’t based on any new technology.  It could have been developed decades ago.  It exists today because we asked a supplier to develop it with us and pledged to buy it if we succeeded.  We pushed for an improved product in the hopes that we would just be the first of many companies to switch to a more recyclable bubble wrap.  In the last year, our company alone has used over 1,000 rolls of bubble wrap to ship our frames to our Creative Community. We only hope that this becomes not only an industry wide standard, but a worldwide trend. We keep working so that one day you can recycle all of your packing and shipping materials with confidence.

And remember, if you order from us, recycle that stuff!


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why is some of it black?
A: Never fear! This is not a dye or color additive. It’s black because of the particular mix of recycled materials used to make it.

Q: How do I know if I can recycle other bubble wrap scraps?
A: We recommend that you check this website. There you can identify it and find out if you can recycle it in your area.

Q: Are the bubbles still poppable?  Because I really like to pop the bubbles.
A: The bubbles are still poppable.  We are not monsters.

Drop us a comment telling us how you reduce your footprint. We are always looking for more ways to decrease ours!

Contributors: Sidney, Alex

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