Shopping online, packing for a move, sending a glass figurine to grandma: what do all of these activities include? Bubble wrap. But what happens to that bubble wrap once it serves its various cushioning purposes? Sure, it might provide some satisfying popping noises for a few moments, but after that it just winds up in the trash, and eventually a landfill. It may surprise you to learn that, apart from its short-lived entertainment and packaging uses, bubble wrap can actually be re-used in a number of different ways.
- Perhaps not so surprisingly, bubble wrap can be stored and used the next time you need to ship a package. Keep it free of tape so the recipient can re-use it too!
- If you don't have the space to store rolls and rolls of used bubble wrap, list it on Freecycle or on Craigslist under the “free stuff” section.
- Keep outside air from entering your freezer every time you open the door by stuffing bubble wrap in the spaces among your food items: that way, your freezer won't have to work as hard to chill your food.
- With a similar idea in mind, you can wrap soft-drink cans, packages of frozen or chilled foods, even containers of ice cream with bubble wrap, and they'll stay icy cold all the way to the picnic.
- Keep produce fresh and free of bruises by padding it with bubble wrap before storing it in your refrigerator's crisper drawers.
- Line your greenhouse walls with bubble wrap for insulation during winter months.
- You can also use bubble wrap to protect fragile, outdoor container plants from frost damage. Simply swathe each container so that the bubble wrap extends a couple of inches above the opening. Keep the wrap in place with string or tape.
- Big sheets of bubble wrap can be used to cover your car's windshield in the evening before a frost or snowfall. When you go to warm up your car the next morning, all you'll need to do is remove the bubble wrap; you won't have to take the time to scrape or defrost the windshield!
- Line your windows with bubble wrap for additional insulation and to trap heat in winter months. You'll really be able to see the difference on your heating bill!
- Keep cold air from giving you a chill at night by placing a large sheet of bubble wrap, or several smaller sheets taped together, between your bedspread or quilt and your top sheet.
- If the tank on your toilet drips condensation in warm, humid weather, try insulating it with bubble wrap. First, shut off the supply valve and drain the tank with a flush, then wash and dry the inside walls for good adhesion. Cut the bubble wrap to the appropriate size (make sure it's small enough so as not to interfere with the operation of the toilet mechanism) and glue the pieces to the walls with silicone sealant. Don't cover every square inch with bubble wrap, just the major, flat surfaces.
- Protect your good-quality tools from wear-and-tear and extend their lives by lining your toolbox with bubble wrap.
- Use a big sheet of bubble wrap as a makeshift sleeping mat on your next camping trip.
Note: If you live in California , Illinois , Massachusetts , New Jersey , North Carolina , or Texas , you can send your bubble wrap to a Sealed Air location as part of their recycling/return program.