Are Bubble Mailers Recyclable?

Bubble mailers are now a popular sight in our community today. You can hardly find a home with ignorance about bubble mailers. This is thanks to the important role that they play as packaging material. 

However, some question remains about their use. Primarily, are they safe for our environment? Are they recyclable? All these questions have emerged following the increased attention towards sustainable living. As such, it is not out of place that you have also got these questions.

padded-envelope-with-white-paper

In fact, having these questions in your mind shows that you are interested in protecting your environment. However, we understand that there might be some confusion about the facts regarding bubble mailers. That’s why we have provided this article. 

In this post, we will tell you whether or not you can recycle bubble mailers. We will also discuss the environmental friendliness of bubble mailers. This way, you can make environmentally friendly decisions. 

Can You Recycle Bubble Mailers?

Bubble mailers are generally not recyclable. While they have been a source of concern for the amount of trashbag content they provide, setting them up for reuse is not yet an option. This is due to the difficulty of separating the outer envelope cover from the bubble wrap on the inside. As a result, they are more likely to be put in the garbage can.

Are Bubble Mailers Eco-Friendly?

To determine the eco-friendliness of bubble mailers, it is important to consider the materials that go into their production. To do this, we will also differentiate it from a fellow packaging material known as poly bubble mailers. Because poly bubble mailers are very likely to appear alongside bubble mailers in your google search results, it is important to consider them, too.

Poly mailers are packaging materials that are often used in shipping. Like bubble mailers, their resistance to tearing and moisture makes them safe options for protecting goods as they cross different time zones. However, polyethylene, a material popular for environmental harm, is used in its production. Although it is a reliable item for storage, its potential to release toxins into the environment can cause doubt. 

Bubble mailers, on the other hand, are not entirely made with plastic. Unlike their poly counterparts, the exterior is covered with paper, while the interior is bubble wrap. As for effect on the environment, bubble mailers will likely be charged guilty from the production base.

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The manufacture of paper requires the cutting of trees. This causes a depletion in natural landscapes. The non-recyclability of these mailers also means that more pressure is applied to their forest sources, affecting biodiversity and other facets of environmental health.

Similarly, paper waste is also cited as a contributor to methane, a greenhouse gas. In this context, one can describe bubble mailers as unfriendly to the environment. 

Are Bubble Mailers Biodegradable?

The biodegradable quality of a material is determined by whether microorganisms can break it down within the soil and how quickly that can happen. For example, a major controversy surrounding bubble mailers is the fact that you cannot recycle them. This is because upon their introduction as waste into the ecosystem, they take very long to decompose, releasing harmful toxins into the environment in the process.

Also, while the paper is generally biodegradable, after all, it comes from trees; this is not the case with bubble mailers. This is because it consists of bubble wrap, which makes biodegradability difficult.

Are Bubble Mailers Bad For the Environment?

To answer this question which has likely been a source of worry, we will consider two essential factors: Are they bad for the environment? How useful have they been? 

Bubble mailers are certainly not free of the various harms they cause to the environment. Right from the production base, these are materials that have potential ecological damage. They are also non-recyclable and non-biodegradable — two qualities that create problems for waste management and climate health. Although these undoubtedly fit into the definition of ‘bad,’ it is important to consider various things.

How Useful Have They Been?

Bubble mailers have created a revolution in the world of product packaging. In the past, people used boxes to transport items across segments of the globe. This was largely unsafe, and products could easily be damaged. With the advent of bubble mailers, items could be conveniently packaged to assure that they would stay undamaged through the various stages of handling.

Bubble mailers also serve as a configurable form of packaging. You can acquire them according to the size of the product that is being transported. You can also easily say that they do not pose as many risks as their cardboard or paper counterparts in terms of safety. However, papers are continuous consumers of wood, and they expand the impacts of climate change. 

Although this does not dissolve the damage that bubble mailers can cause, it makes sense also to consider their impacts compared to previous methods.

12 Clever Ways to Dispose of Bubble Mailers

Disposing of your bubble mailers in a safe and environmentally agreeable way is a pertinent question. To answer it, we have listed the following:

1. Research First

This is one part that we believe you should do first before chucking those envelopes in the trash can. You may choose to spare them by first checking if your locality has a recycling hub around. Some facilities might be willing to accept material of this nature, and while those are scarce, it costs little to check.

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2. Talk to the Manufacturer

Talking to the manufacturer can be done if you cannot understand the kind of plastic used. Asking them will help you to determine if the material is recyclable and therefore suitable for a facility. If they say it is not, you can urge them to use more recyclable components in their products. This in itself is a valuable contribution to protecting the environment. 

3. Find Some Other Use for It

Everyone deserves a second chance, they say, and this certainly does not exclude your bubble mailers. If you feel they can be useful somewhere around the house, you could always enlist them into that role. To help you along, you could use bubble mailers in storage or hand them over to a friend who can make do with them. This is a much better option than choking the trash cans with loads and loads of bubble mailers. Even more importantly, it saves the environment from the resultant consequences of doing so.

4. Separate the Paper and Plastic

This is a very unpopular option. But, unfortunately, it is the major reason why most bubble mailers find themselves in the dump rather than a service worthy of praise. If you intend to mitigate, though, you can try prising the two apart with a competent pair of scissors.

However, one thing to note here is that it is pretty much a useless endeavor if the plastic ends up being the non-recyclable kind. So, to save time and prevent stress, check with the manufacturers to determine what kind of material they used. That will go a long way.

5. Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Bubble Mailers

A way to avoid all the stress and guilt that trails the use of ecologically unsafe bubble mailers is to resort to closer alternatives. To serve this interest, this section provides all that you need to know. The options apply to both individual and shipping business uses. Read on to know more.

6. Corrugated Bubble Wrap

This is a great alternative to the not-so-regarded bubble mailers. You can use corrugated bubble wrap to absorb the effects of jolts and other upsetting cases that emerge in the movement of ships. It fulfills the exact function of bubble wrap packaging in that it keeps your product safe and absorbs shocks. On the cost side, corrugated packaging can also be quite cost-effective. It is lightweight and usable over a long period.

7. Cornstarch Packaging

As its name implies, cornstarch is derived from maize plants. It possesses plastic-like attributes and can function pretty well in many of the roles that involve plastic. However, the problem with it is the diversion of human and animal food into packaging material, which could have effects on market rates. 

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8. Mushroom Packaging

Like its cornstarch counterpart, mushroom packaging is an environmentally sustainable alternative to bubble wrap. It can be used in packaging and transporting small material. The production process involves a mixture of agricultural waste with the roots of mushroom plants.

Mushroom packaging has an advantage over cornstarch because it is primarily derived from unused agricultural waste. This takes away the potential for interference with human and animal food. It is also very quick to decompose and can be hastened to break up into smaller bits domestically.

9. Organic Fabrics

These are basic materials such as tapioca, palm leaves, hemp, recycled cotton, and a variety of others. They are an excellent alternative to plastic and can even be applied in other uses. In addition, these materials take far lesser time to decompose compared to traditional plastic.

10. Seaweed Packaging

This alternative is especially awesome for its CO2-absorbing feature. Seaweed packaging, asides from its ability to decompose very quickly, also absorbs carbon dioxide during its production processes. It is very dynamic and offers more areas of use with a bit of creativity. However, it is not free of problems. Due to its relative newness—it emerged in 2019—and other factors, seaweed packaging is quite expensive and inaccessible. It is also not an easy material to manufacture.

11. Green Wrap 

A green wrap is another inviting option to explore. It is a material that decomposes easily and can play all the roles that bubble wrap can. It is even a great option in packaging items that can damage easily. Apart from this, it is quite attractive to the eye. A green wrap is also an effective resource when considering a reduction in the space used for storage.

12. Air Pillows

Air pillows are a pretty common sight these days. If you are a fervent patron of Amazon, you will have seen them in use. As their shape would imply, these’ pillows are particularly useful for giving your products an added level of protection. They can undertake the jobs of bubble packaging better than they do.

However, the only thing that makes them attractive is the recyclability of these materials. As opposed to bubble wraps, you can take them to a recycling facility with the assurance they are right for it. They are as such great for reducing waste in the environment.

Conclusion

Finally, when you consider bubble mailers in their small sizes, you may not think much of their environmental effects. However, the fact that they keep increasing in quantity in your house is a ready indication of the damage they cause. To minimize this, you can resort to using more recyclable bubble mailers rather than harmful ones.

References:

https://www.calgary.ca/uep/wrs/what-goes-where/bubble-mailers.html

https://www.afandpa.org/media/blog/bloga/2018/05/22/do-you-know-how-to-recycle-all-the-different-types-of-mail-you-receive

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.