When packaging electronics or fragile items, nothing beats Bubble Wrap, but Bubble Wrap does more than cushion fragile or valuable objects for transportation. The inventors of the ubiquitous air cellular cushioning material started a company called Sealed Air Corporation to produce Bubble Wrap. The name "Bubble Wrap" is trademarked but has gone into common usage to describe any plastic sealed air bubble shipping packaging.
Bubble Wrap is sold in office and packaging supply stores in sheets, bags and rolls. It comes in a variety of thicknesses between 3/16 inch and 1 inch. The material comes in big single cells up to 2 inches x 4 inches. It is made from polyethylene plastic resins of various types and strengths.
Bubble Wrap is primarily a packaging material, used to pad objects for shipping. It works well as a loose padding, to cushion the sides of a box or shipping container or between layers of loose objects. It can be wrapped around the outside of large appliances or furniture or anything you want to protect from scratching.
The most common use after packaging is sitting around popping the bubbles with your fingers. People claim popping Bubble Wrap is therapeutic. People often sit around pinching the bubbles in a sheet of bubble wrap, breaking them with a satisfying pop. Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is celebrated on the last Monday in January.
The maker of Bubble Wrap sponsors an annual competition for young inventors that challenges them to find other uses for Bubble Wrap. The Sealed Air Corporation offers scholarships and prizes to winning inventors who develop new uses for the material. Bubble Wrap makes great insulation for dog houses, fun placemats for kids, protecting outdoor plants against freezing, emergency insulation for glass windows and doors, a beverage cozy, lining for a refrigerator crisper drawer, a burglar alarm (lay it on the floors around doors and entrances) and as an emergency sleeping bag, an emergency flotation device or a padded Halloween costume (think giant jellyfish). You can even use Bubble Wrap as an emergency splint for an injured limb. Uses for the versatile material we know as Bubble Wrap are limited only by your imagination.
Bubble Wrap is made of a plastic. Some versions are biodegradable. Some include vapors within the bubbles designed to protect metal and electronic parts from corrosion while being stored. Some types of Bubble Wrap come from recycled plastic resins designed to break down over time in landfills.