Invented in the US in 1957, bubble wrap is made by heating a thin sheet of plastic film as it passes between perforated rollers. Air is blown through the holes in the rollers, to stretch half-dome bubbles in the sheet. Then a second layer of plastic is bonded underneath the sheet, to seal the air into individual bubbles.

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Bubble wrap can be recycled at some facilities, but there are more environmentally friendly options. One alternative, for example, uses kraft paper that’s been stamped with a special pattern of slits, which allows it to be pulled into a honeycomb-like mesh that can be wrapped around fragile items.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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