How To Recycle Sealed Air Packaging [8 Best Ways]

Sealed Air packaging, often recognized by its distinct bubble wrap design, is commonly used for cushioning and protecting various items during shipping and handling.

While these materials are efficient for safeguarding products, they can contribute to environmental concerns when not disposed of properly.

Recycling Sealed Air packaging is an essential step towards reducing waste and minimizing the environmental impact of packaging materials.

In this guide, we will explore the steps and methods for recycling Sealed Air packaging. We’ll cover the materials commonly used in Sealed Air packaging, how to prepare them for recycling, and the appropriate recycling options available. 

By following these guidelines, you can play your part in promoting sustainability and responsible packaging disposal. Let’s dive in and learn how to recycle Sealed Air packaging effectively.

What Material is Used to Make Bubble Wrap?

Bubble wrap is typically made from two layers of plastic film with tiny air-filled bubbles trapped between them. The most common materials used in the production of bubble wrap are:

  1. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE): The outer layers of bubble wrap are usually made from LDPE plastic. LDPE is a flexible and lightweight plastic that provides durability and protection. It is known for its excellent cushioning properties and resistance to moisture.
  1. Air Bubbles: The distinctive bubbles in bubble wrap are filled with air, which creates the cushioning effect. These air-filled pockets serve as a protective barrier against shocks, impacts, and vibrations, safeguarding items during shipping and handling.

Bubble wrap is designed to be lightweight and effective at cushioning, which makes it a popular choice for protecting fragile items during transportation.

While it is primarily used for packaging and protection, it can also be recycled and repurposed to reduce its environmental impact.

Recycling programs and facilities may accept bubble wrap made from LDPE, so it’s essential to check with your local recycling guidelines to ensure proper disposal.

Alternatives to Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is a popular packaging material known for its cushioning properties, but there are several eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives available for those looking to reduce their environmental impact. Here are some alternatives to bubble wrap:

  • Paper Packaging: Crumpled newspaper, kraft paper, or paper packing materials are excellent alternatives. They can be used to wrap items, fill empty spaces in boxes, and provide cushioning.
  • Corrugated Cardboard: Cut or fold pieces of corrugated cardboard to create padding between items in a box. It provides protection against bumps and impacts.
  • Biodegradable Packing Peanuts: Biodegradable packing peanuts made from materials like cornstarch are an eco-friendly option. They dissolve in water and can be composted.
  • Air Pillows: Air pillows, made from recyclable and reusable materials, are lightweight and provide cushioning. They can be inflated as needed.
  • Reusable Packaging: Consider using reusable packaging materials like cloth bags, reusable plastic containers, or wooden crates. These options reduce waste and can be used multiple times.
  • Foam Sheets: Soft foam sheets or foam rolls can be used for cushioning and protection. Look for foam materials that are recyclable or made from recycled content.
  • Mushroom Packaging: There are packaging materials made from mycelium (the root system of fungi) that are eco-friendly and biodegradable. These materials are becoming increasingly popular.
  • Bamboo Padding: Bamboo-based cushioning and padding materials are sustainable and biodegradable.
  • Packaging Inserts: If you need to protect delicate items within a box, consider custom-cut packaging inserts made from sustainable materials like cardboard or molded pulp.
  • Fabric or Cloth: Wrap fragile items in cloth or fabric scraps, securing them with twine or reusable tape.
  • Reusable Bubble Wrap: Some companies offer reusable bubble wrap made from durable materials. These can be used multiple times, reducing waste.

When choosing an alternative to bubble wrap, consider the fragility of your items, the packaging’s weight, and your environmental goals.

The right choice will not only protect your items during shipping but also contribute to reducing waste and environmental impact.

Is it Possible to Recycle Bubble Wrap?

Yes, it is possible to recycle bubble wrap in some areas. Check with your local recycling program or facility to see if they accept bubble wrap, typically made from Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE). Keep it clean, tape-free, and dry.

If your local program doesn’t accept it, look for specialized drop-off locations or mail-back programs. Reusing bubble wrap or considering eco-friendly alternatives can also reduce waste and environmental impact.

Methods to Repurpose, Dispose, and Recycle Sealed Air Packaging Products

Image Credit:

Recycling, repurposing, or disposing of Sealed Air packaging products can be done through several methods to minimize environmental impact:

  1. Recycling Programs: Check with your local recycling program to see if they accept Sealed Air packaging materials. Most recycling centers can process Sealed Air products made from Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE). Clean and dry the material before recycling.
  1. Drop-Off Locations: Some packaging supply stores, shipping centers, or large retailers may have designated drop-off points for Sealed Air packaging recycling. Inquire with them about collection programs.
  1. Mail-Back Programs: Investigate mail-back programs offered by certain companies or organizations that accept Sealed Air packaging materials for recycling. They may provide instructions on how to send the materials for recycling.
  1. Reuse: Whenever possible, reuse Sealed Air packaging materials for your own shipping needs. Bubble wrap and air pillows, if undamaged, can provide effective cushioning for future shipments.
  1. Donate: Consider donating clean and reusable Sealed Air packaging materials to local charities, schools, or organizations that could use them for packaging or craft projects.
  1. Repurpose at Home: Get creative by repurposing Sealed Air packaging materials for various DIY projects, such as insulating windows, protecting fragile items in storage, or even crafting homemade pillows or cushions.
  1. Composting (if applicable): Some Sealed Air packaging materials, such as those made from biodegradable materials, may be suitable for composting in specific composting facilities. Ensure they meet local composting guidelines.
  1. Landfill (as a last resort): If no recycling or repurposing options are available in your area, Sealed Air packaging products made from LDPE can often be disposed of in a landfill. However, this should be considered a last resort to minimize environmental impact.

Always prioritize recycling and repurposing options to reduce waste and promote sustainability when dealing with Sealed Air packaging materials.

Check with local recycling facilities and programs for specific guidelines on what types of Sealed Air products they accept for recycling.

The Reasons Why Bubble Wrap Cannot Be Placed in Your Recycling Bin

Bubble wrap cannot be placed in your recycling bin for several reasons. Firstly, it’s typically made from Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), a type of plastic that many municipal recycling programs do not accept.

Secondly, it can get tangled in recycling machinery, causing breakdowns and operational issues at recycling facilities. 

Additionally, it often contains air bubbles, which can make it challenging to process efficiently. To recycle bubble wrap, you usually need to find specialized drop-off locations or programs that accept this material separately from regular curbside recycling.

The Environmental Impacts of Sealed Air Packaging

Sealed Air packaging, like many packaging materials, has environmental impacts that need to be considered:

  1. Resource Use: The production of Sealed Air packaging requires the extraction and processing of raw materials, including plastic. This can lead to resource depletion and energy consumption, contributing to environmental issues.
  1. Plastic Pollution: Sealed Air packaging is typically made from plastic, specifically Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE). Improper disposal or lack of recycling can result in plastic pollution, harming ecosystems and wildlife.
  1. Non-Biodegradable: Most Sealed Air packaging materials are not biodegradable. When they end up in landfills, they can persist in the environment for a long time.
  1. Energy Consumption: The manufacturing process for Sealed Air packaging consumes energy, which often comes from non-renewable sources, leading to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts.
  1. Transportation Impact: Shipping Sealed Air packaging materials to various locations can contribute to carbon emissions due to transportation.
  1. Waste Generation: The disposal of used Sealed Air packaging materials, if not managed properly, can contribute to solid waste in landfills.

It’s important to note that Sealed Air, as a company, has been taking steps to improve the sustainability of its packaging products and reduce their environmental impact through innovations such as lightweight, recyclable materials, and sustainable design practices.

However, the overall environmental impact of Sealed Air packaging largely depends on how the materials are produced, used, and disposed of by individuals and businesses. 

To mitigate these impacts, it’s crucial to consider alternative packaging options, prioritize recycling, and promote sustainable practices in packaging and waste management.


In conclusion, recycling Sealed Air packaging is both a responsible and eco-friendly choice for individuals and businesses alike.

This distinctive packaging material, often used for cushioning and protecting items during shipping, can find a new purpose through recycling and repurposing efforts.

By checking local recycling options, preparing the materials correctly, and exploring alternative uses or recycling programs, we can reduce the environmental impact of Sealed Air packaging.

Recycling this material not only helps divert it from landfills but also supports a more sustainable approach to packaging, contributing to a greener future.


What is sealed air used for?

Sealed Air makes stuff to protect things when they’re shipped. You’ve probably heard of Bubble Wrap, which they make. It’s that poppable plastic with bubbles you see.

They also create other things like soft pillows filled with air, foam padding, and special materials that keep things safe. These are used in different industries, like online shopping, food packaging, and healthcare.

These materials help make sure your stuff doesn’t break when it’s being moved around, and they keep things in good shape from start to finish in the delivery process.

Can packaging plastic be recycled?

Yes, packaging plastic can often be recycled. Follow local guidelines, clean and sort by type (e.g., PET, HDPE), and remove labels and caps for effective recycling.

Avoid contaminants and use designated collection points, especially for specialty plastics like plastic film or bubble wrap, to reduce their environmental impact.

Which packaging material is not recyclable?

Some packaging materials are challenging to recycle in most places. These include items like plastic bags, plastic wrap, Styrofoam, greasy pizza boxes, complex packaging, plastic cutlery, and waxed cardboard.

Recycling these materials can be tricky due to various reasons. To reduce waste and help the environment, it’s a good idea to be aware of your local recycling guidelines and aim to use these materials less whenever possible.

What is the effect of packaging chocolate in air-tight sealed bags?

Packaging chocolate in air-tight sealed bags has several benefits. It keeps chocolate fresh and tasty by blocking oxygen, preventing moisture from making it sticky or powdery, stopping it from absorbing unwanted odors, and extends its shelf life.

It also helps maintain the pleasant texture of chocolate and keeps it clean during handling and storage, ensuring a delightful experience for consumers.

Is it safe to reuse food packaging materials?

Reusing food packaging can be okay, but it depends on what it’s made of and how you use it. Glass and certain plastic containers, like the ones made for reusing, can be safely used again.

Metal cans and clean cloth bags can also be reused. However, single-use plastic containers, cardboard or paper packaging with food stains, plastic wrap, and disposable plates or cutlery are usually not safe to reuse for food.

Always clean and check the packaging, and use materials that are meant for reuse to stay safe and clean.

Additional Posts:

  1. How To Recycle Multi Layer Pouch [6 Effective & Best Ways]
  2. How to Recycle Air Fryer [Best & Sustainable Disposal Methods]
  3. How to Recycle a Dehumidifier [7 Effective Ways]
  4. How to Recycle Cashmere [8 Best Ways]
  5. How To Dispose Of A Bed Frame [8 Effective Ways]