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Bubble Mailers - Bad News for the Environment

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Environmentally friendly plastic free alternatives to bubble mailers

Yep we said it, no matter how much green-washing they apply to bubble mailers, by their very nature they are bad news for the environment.

It's not just their plastic content that's bad, it goes deeper than that. In this article we go through why we feel bubble mailers are bad, and what other more sustainable options are out there.

Reasons not to use Bubble Mailers:

  1. Bubble mailers are often made from paper bonded to plastic, this makes them virtually impossible to recycle. The end user has to painstakingly separate the plastic from the paper before putting them in the recycling bin.
  2. Common plastic or metallic bubble mailers do not biodegrade, so when they end up in our oceans they will persist for hundreds of years, wrecking havoc on wildlife.
  3. The plastic used in bubble mailers, as well as the solvent inks needed to print on them, can contain toxic phthalates and other known carcinogens.
  4. Some plastic bubble mailers are co-extruded, this means 2 different colours of plastic are combined together to form the material that makes the bag's surface and traps the air bubbles. Co-extruded plastic is impossible to recycle, and as such it ends up being incinerated, dumped in land fill or it's shipped out to other countries with a poor waste mismanagement track record (such as dumping in our oceans).
  5. They do not consistently fit through letter tariffs as they're not rigid. To qualify for large letter postage, a mailer has to be rigid enough to go through the Royal Mail Large Letter slot one handed. This can lead to a big increase in delivery costs.
  6. Bubble mailers are full of air, this means that they use a lot of storage when compared with alternatives such as Amazon style corrugated envelopes.
  7. Poor unboxing experience - customers perceive bubble mailers as not being very eco-friendly. Even ones that claim to be biodegradable still require the paper to be separated from the plastic to be recyclable.
  8. Bubble mailers offer no corner protection, so not suitable for shipping items such as CDs that will crack if dropped.

Sure bubble mailers can serve a purpose, but there are so many better ways to ship your low cost, non-fragile items.

Below we list a few bubble mailer alternatives that will not only present your product in a much better light, but will improve your eco-friendly credentials - which all customers are demanding right now.

Biodegradable Padded Envelope Mailing Bags

Padded Paper Envelopes

Looking for a plastic free and biodegradable alternatives to bubble mailers? Then look no further than our eco friendly bubble mailer alternative. Padded paper wallets are great for eco-conscious ecommerce brands looking to reduce plastic waste.

Corrugated Capacity Envelopes

These corrugated envelopes are perfect for ecommerce businesses looking for versatile postal packaging that is fast, easy to use, and requires minimal storage space in the warehouse. It's a good upgrade over the bubble mailer or paper padded envelope, as it offers solid corner protection and better rigidity for fitting through postal tariffs.

Shop Amazon Style Envelopes

If you're interested in seeing the full range of sustainable paper based packaging, we have many other options available in our shop.

Looking of Bespoke Postal Packaging?

We offer flexographic and lithographic printing services, as well as prototyping and 3D modelling as well as in-line cut and glue to help reduce per unit cost on medium to high capacity packaging runs. So if you'd like something bespoke to fit your product or service, talk to us about our range of custom packaging services today.

Talk to us about bespoke packaging

This article was written by...

Joe Wille

Director at The Packaging Club.

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