Currently, bubble wrap is viewed as waste, so therefore is treated as waste. After one use, it either gets shipped to Europe for recycling or is incinerated in Ireland.

by Peter Gregory (from Green Bubble)

This mindset causes many issues. From toxins created during the incineration process, to increased carbon emissions generated from collecting, exporting and recycling the material. We are also using finite fossil fuels to manufacture bubble wrap and other similar material.

I’ve always been interested in extending the life of materials, especially if they are destined for landfill or incineration. Most people assume that bubble wrap is recycled but unfortunately, there are currently no recycling facilities in Ireland.

Claire Sancelot, the founder of The Hive Bulk Foods, a social enterprise in Malaysia that runs zero waste stores, poses with bubble wrap her firm collected for reuse.

During the first lockdown, I conducted some research on what happens to bubble wrap and if there were any reuse options. I was shocked to discover that the majority of bubble wrap in Ireland is incinerated after one use. This led me to start Green Bubble, offering a solution for used bubble wrap. It also helps to reduce the amount of virgin material being consumed.

"The majority of bubble wrap in Ireland is incinerated after one use"

Our ethos is to use resources carefully, to keep products and materials in use. We even re-use the tape that is removed from the bubble wrap. We also donate any offcuts to Pop & Paint sensory classes for children with additional needs.

We are surrounded by convenient, single-use items. From coffee cups to food packaging.

We are using an item, then disposing of it, this all has an impact on the environment. We all have to purchase less, reduce our consumption and try to extend the life of every item we use. We can’t continue to consume materials at our current rate.

We are not encouraging people to use bubble wrap; we are encouraging people to reuse it.

Here are our top bubble wrap tips:

1. Simple, don’t buy new bubble wrap (find out if there is a bubble wrap collection/drop-off point near you).

2. If required, buy used material from Green Bubble

3. Don’t throw it away, you never know when you’ll need it

4. Donate any unwanted bubble wrap to the Rediscover Centre in Ballymun

For more information visit Green Bubble or follow us on Instagram

And that's a wrap!

Thank you to Peter for updating us all on this waste product and helping us to figure out better ways to reuse it and keep it from the incinerators and/or export. VOICE has been fighting hard against the overuse of packaging by companies, like Amazon, who every year use so much plastic wrapping, that if laid out would encircle the world more than 800 times (EuroNews).

Please support our work and help us to push back on businesses and make them move to more circular solutions.