Bubble Wrap Journeys

September 28, 2019

 

     One of the things I simply adore about working with cultured pearls is that it encourages good environmental practices.  Think about it: the higher the cleanliness level of the water, the more nutrients there are, leading to healthier mollusks and a better quality pearl.  One of the best ways to help with good environmental practices?  Follow that old saw we learned in school: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

 

     I was driving in my car the other day, when I heard a thing on the radio that said there are companies making plastics that are not recyclable, and my brain broke for a moment. Fine, maybe two moments.  How was this possible?  How are there not regulations for this, with everything we know about recycling, the effects of plastic on the environment, etc?

 

     Why is this important for a jewelry artist and why on Earth is it in her blog?

 

     Well, because: when a studio mate of mine had passed and his family left the studio several of his materials, there was a lot of bubble wrap that I received and was grateful for, because “hello, shipping supplies!”  I was raised in a family that frequently reused things, so this was perfectly logical and I was quite pleased to not have extra shipping costs to potentially pass on to customers down the road. 

 

     Later, a local business told me I could have bubble and foam wrap from retail items that had been shipped to them.  They said it was just going to get thrown away otherwise, because the local recycling crews would not pick up bubble wrap. 

 

     After hearing the thing on the radio, though, I began to wonder whether I was adding to the problem by using a non-recyclable item in my shipping.  The last thing I want to do is make it harder to get high-quality materials to work with by harming Mother Earth.  I did some research on this 1957 invention that was reported to be originally intended as wallpaper (no joke!).  My thought was this: if bubble wrap is NOT recyclable, then I can at least keep it out of the landfills a bit longer by sending it out again, and maybe even inviting people to reuse it yet again and join me on this small adventure to help keep bubble wrap out of landfills.  Through my simple research, I learned that bubble and foam wrap actually ARE recyclable, just not in your bins.  You have to drop it off with your plastic bags at either recycling facilities or places like grocery stores that collect plastic bags for recycling pick up. 

 

     So, I feel a bit better.  Yes, there are still companies out there creating things that we have no way to dismantle or recycle.  However, sustainable change is made up of an accumulation of tiny actions over time.  Margaret Mead famously stated that we should “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world.”  I believe our collective actions have an impact.  I’m reducing what goes into landfills, I’m reusing materials, and I’m letting people know that bubble wrap IS recyclable with plastic bags. 

     

     Actually, let's make a game of it!  I will share in the shipped packages where the bubble wrap came from to the best of my knowledge.  If you want to join me in my Bubble Wrap Journeys, then just send that bubble wrap on another adventure to protect something you ship to a friend or loved one.  Then, pop onto Facebook or Instagram and share what you received from Manda Wylde Designs in your bubble wrap and where you are sending the bubble wrap next(City/State/Country).  I get that it's a little silly, but I think it'll be great fun!  Go ahead and tag me on either platform by using the handle @mandawyldedesigns.  Parties are more fun with friends, so invite friends and loved ones to play along!  

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