Shoppers want eco-friendly bubble wrap alternatives, and choose companies who use it in their packaging over those who don’t, 81% of consumers said that given the choice they would choose cartonboard or cardboard packaging over plastic.
In this article we’ll address both the environmental and financial impact of switching to alternatives.
Aside from the obvious, there’s much more to bubble wrap and its alternatives than would appear on the surface.
Is the bubble wrap truly eco-friendly? Is it biodegradable? Or is it simply oxo-biodegradable? What’s the difference? We’ll look into all these things as well as showing you where you can find genuinely biodegradable paper bubble wrap.
But first things first, what do we mean by eco-friendly bubble wrap?
What is eco-friendly bubble wrap?
It’s protective packaging that keeps your products safe while they’re being transported to consumers and unlike its plastic based counterpart, (traditional bubble wrap made from plastic), 100% of it can be recycled so it does not cause damage to the environment.
Why use eco-friendly bubble wrap alternatives?
Some people say that as bubble wrap is lighter than other forms of protective packaging, it has a lower carbon footprint overall. That may have been a valid point when there were no good alternatives, but these days why not just use a lightweight fibre-based alternative to old-fashioned bubble wrap?
Unboxing your package and popping that sheet of plastic bubbles is super relaxing, there’s no argument there.
But what happens to it after this luxurious 10-15 seconds?
It goes in the bin, and makes its way to landfill or incineration. As we all know, many plastics end up in our oceans, contributing to those heart-breaking images of beaches covered in rubbish and animals suffering from the pollution.
How do you feel when you see those images on social media? You probably feel a pang of empathy for the animal, annoyance at mankind for causing this problem, maybe even guilt at being part of the problem, possibly a feeling of impotence that you’re unable to change the situation.
But you can make a difference!
Using eco-friendly bubble wrap alternatives can make a huge difference, both your organization, and you as an individual, can be part of the solution.
Another reason to use eco-friendly bubble wrap alternatives is due to our next point…the questionable nature of ‘biodegradable bubble wrap’.
Biodegradable bubble wrap, is it eco-friendly?
Some suppliers profess to use biodegradable bubble wrap, it sounds great, buying it and even disposing of it gives you that warm feeling of doing your bit for the environment, but are you really helping the environment?
Is it really biodegradable?
Many of these products are described as oxo-biodegradable, which to be honest, doesn’t seem to us do much to protect the environment.
Because in many cases, all this really means is that there is an additive incorporated into the plastic to help break it down into smaller pieces.
So when you’re thinking about earth-friendly, recyclable packaging, our guess is that you probably aren’t looking for something that creates more micro-plastic pollution of the oceans. You want something that is genuinely recyclable and biodegradable.
Are you looking for ‘technically?’ or are you looking for genuinely biodegradable packaging?
The solution? Use truly biodegradable paper bubble wrap.
Old ‘recycling’ solutions no longer work
For decades, China, Cambodia, The Philippines, and many other South-East Asian countries, accepted waste from the West, simply because they needed the money.
Now however, things are different.
China is a world superpower, Cambodia’s environment minister has said the country is not a ‘dustbin’, president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte said publicly that the times of his country accepting waste from western governments was over and that a recent ‘shipment’ from Canada was already on its way back to Vancouver.
This marks a huge change in the way we deal with plastic.
We need another solution.
We can no longer simply pack our plastic waste on a slow boat to the far east and forget about it.
So, essentially, plastic is on the way out, and truly biodegradable alternatives are needed.
This is where eco-friendly bubble wrap alternatives come into play.
The need for bubble wrap alternatives is obvious. But why is paper bubble wrap the best alternative and why should you be using it in your packaging?
In our own efforts to increase the use of eco-friendly packaging, our Head of Product, Silvia Esteve has been working hard on finding a great alternative to plastic bubble wrap.
We are now proud to add HexcelWrap to our offering, a paper based bubble wrap. Visit the product page where you can check out the specs and even get a free sample to test the packaging for yourself.
Why Use Paper Bubble Wrap from DS Smith ePack?
• Cut to any length without scissors
• No need for additional packing tape to secure the paper wrap
• Better use of storage space at your business (no need for bulky void fill)
• Efficient packing (25-50% faster than traditional alternatives)
Last year, 39% of plastic waste was incinerated and 30% was sent to landfills (source). On this note, at ePack we’re currently working on destocking all single-use plastic from our ecommerce store and introducing eco-friendly packaging alternatives instead.
Paper based bubble wrap
HexcelWrap, is an all-paper, eco-friendly packaging that is the number one packaging alternative to plastic bubble wrap as it is easily recyclable and ultimately biodegradable. Alex Manisty, Group Head of Strategy at DS Smith has said of this new product:
‘‘It’s time to embrace the eminently recyclable paper and cardboard alternatives to single-use plastics if we are really serious about protecting our environment and responding to changing demands from the public.’’
And the views of the public are coming through loud and clear now. 87% of EU citizens are worried about the environmental impact of plastics and 94% think that industry and retailers should make more of an effort to reduce plastic packaging.
- 100% Recyclable & Biodegradable
- Made from responsibly sourced FSC paper
- No tape needed
- Designed with continuous perforations, enabling you to tear the wrap at any desired length so it’s customizable to any sized product
- No trade-off between safety and sustainability, it’s perfect for shipping ceramics, pottery, electronics, jewellery, wine, glass bottles and other fragile items
- Takes up 80% less space than bulky void fill
If you’re looking to make a switch from plastic to paper packaging, you can find a variety of paper based packaging alternatives at our online shop.
Contact us if you are interested in the product and would like to find out more.
Paper Bubble Wrap is good for your bottom line.
We’ve already mentioned that people are choosing paper based alternatives over plastic when given the choice. This choice means real benefits for your business.
If people are becoming more aware of the impact they have on the environment, then it follows that their buying decisions are also going to impact heavily on the companies they do business with. Given the choice, the public will buy from companies whose values align with theirs.
Alex Stewart, the founder of eco-conscious luggage company OneNine5, told us their customers love the fact that they were taking steps to limit their impact on the environment.
“Consumers nowadays want to know that they are aligned to a brand that prioritises environmental sustainability and this makes them value and hopefully invest in your products,”
OneNine5 has seen a tangible benefit to using recyclable, environmentally friendly packaging.
In what way?
Their consumers are uploading pictures and videos of the unboxing experience to their personal Instagram and tagging the company. This is related to an important topic we’ve discussed before, the importance of branded packaging.
The benefits of user-generated content (users marketing on your behalf) are well known, and not something we’re going to look into in this article, but you can read more about OneNine5 and their experience with DS Smith ePack in their Sustainable Packaging Case Study.
Where can I find eco-friendly bubble wrap alternatives?
So that wraps up everything you need to know about eco-friendly bubble wrap alternatives (excuse the awful pun) as well as where and why you should be using Paper Bubble Wrap.
If you want to provide a great unboxing experience to your customers and enjoy the benefits to both your reputation and bottom line of switching to paper bubble wrap packaging, drop us your name and email and we’ll be in touch.