Alright everyone, deep breaths.
The maker of the protective shipping material/universally enjoyed poppable plastic bubbles Bubble Wrap has some bad news for customers who need a little fun with their recently shipped vase. According to the Wall Street Journal, Bubble Wrap manufacturer Sealed Air is currently rolling out a new version of the material that does not pop.
It’s a bummer for those of us who love to stomp on the stuff, but it makes economic sense. Protective packaging is big business, like 20 billion dollars-worth of business, according to WSJ. And the new packing, called iBubble Wrap, will save Sealed Air bundles on shipping costs.
iBubble Wrap is much cheaper to ship because it only takes up 1/50th the volume that a typical roll of Bubble Wrap does. That’s because the customer — shipping companies like FedEx — inflates the new Bubble Wrap on site. One truck filled with rolls of iBubble Wrap could take the place of 47 trucks filled with the traditional, pre-inflated packaging. Of course, that means that companies hoping to use the new Wrap will need to purchase the $5,500 inflating machines themselves for on-site use. Sealed Air hopes to get this price down in the next few years.
The reason iBubble Wrap does not pop is because the air is no longer contained in separate bubbles. Rather, after inflation, the air occupies long, bubbly columns that won’t have that satisfying snap if squeezed. Air just moves to the other end of the column.
But don’t worry, Sealed Air will continue to sell both kinds of Bubble Wrap, meaning that you don’t have to run out to Office Depot to stock up like a doomsday prepper, though that does sound like a decently fun fallout shelter.
IMAGE: Keith Williamson