Remember when you were a kid and experienced bubble wrap for the first time? It may have been your favorite past time to pop the plethora of bubbles found on a single sheet.
History of Bubble Wraps
Whether you treat popping bubble wrap as a stress reliever or simply dispose of it, you can’t deny the ubiquity of this packing material. Did you know bubble wrap’s history goes back over a half century? It came about in 1957 by American engineers Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, who were focused on creating textured wallpaper.
During this process, they sealed together two shower curtains, which had air bubbles trapped inside. They realized the three-dimensional wall covering they devised was probably not going to be as popular as what they had in mind.
This led them to alter their offering, marketing it as insulation for greenhouses. Unfortunately, their modified plan was a failure as well.
It wasn’t until three years later, a marketer employed at Sealed Air, discovered a better use for their innovation. They found the material was perfect for protecting new computers! The idea was demonstrated to IBM leadership, and they loved it. Thus, bubble wrap was born being used to ship goods worldwide.
Modern Day Usage
Fast forward a few decades and bubble wrap is now in widespread use. It can be easily purchased and has assumed multiple forms and sizes. In fact, some of the most common uses of bubble wrap include bubble padded envelopes and bubble wrap rolls.
To this day, bubble wrap is still a staple in the shipping, moving and storing industry. As time has passed, companies have focused on making the material environment friendly. Bubble wrap is comprised of pre-consumer recycled content which uses considerably less plastic than it did before.
More than fifty years after it was manufactured, bubble wrap now makes up nearly a tenth of Sealed Air’s annual revenue. This equals more than $400 million in sales.
The total amount of bubble wrap produced in a year would surprise you. In terms of length, it would stretch nearly 384,400 kilometers (240,250 miles) in total. This is almost the distance between the Earth and the Moon!
In 2001, an Indiana radio station began an annual Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. The material now has its own nationally observed day, the last Monday in January. Don’t forget to mark your calendars!