Once you pop, you just can’t stop

Elizabeth Rund

A day when Bubble Wrap isn’t taken for granted


Yesterday was National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. The holiday, started in 2001, encourages people to make new creations out of the packing material, play a virtual bubble wrap game or just enjoy popping it.


Credit: Ron Soltys

It’s puffy, it’s clear, it comes in a variety of sizes, and it’s more fun to pop than to pack plates in: It’s Bubble Wrap!

As January comes to an end, one company takes the time to celebrate Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.

“I was completely unaware that there was a Bubble Wrap appreciation day,” said Danijela Vranesevic, sophomore political science major.

Vranesevic isn’t the only one who hasn’t heard of this unique day.

“I had no idea — it doesn’t surprise me though,” said Jennifer Delciappo, senior earth science major. “There are appreciation days for everything.”

Sealed Air Corp., a Bubble Wrap manufacturing company based out of New Jersey, has been producing it for more than 40 years.

Bubble Wrap began as an attempt by Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding to create plastic wallpaper with a paper backing. When the plastic wallpaper didn’t work out, the two men realized that the material could be used to cushion products during shipping.

In 1960, Chavannes and Fielding created the Sealed Air and have become the leading global manufacturer of protective packaging products.

Bubble Wrap starts as small pea-sized beads of plastic. The plastic is heated and melted to form clear sheets. One sheet rolls over a drum where suction grabs the plastic and pulls parts of it through holes in the drum. Then another sheet is placed flat over the drum and heated to form Bubble Wrap.

Sealed Air boasts that enough Bubble Wrap is made every year to stretch from the earth to the moon.

Sealed Air’s Web site has links to a page with, among other things, a Bubble Wrap gift shop that is currently under construction and an interactive feature that lets visitors “paint” pieces of Bubble Wrap.

There is even a Bubble Wrap personality test. The visitor simply answers a few questions about how he or she pops Bubble Wrap and a description and possible career choice pops up.

Those who don’t have access to the real thing can take advantage of the “virtual Bubble Wrap” to relieve some stress — just click and pop.

In addition to the fun and games, Sealed Air holds an annual contest for children in grades five through eight. The contest asks the children to invent something with Bubble Wrap.

This year’s winner invented the “carpal cushion.” The cushion is similar to gloves with the fingers cut off. The glove was designed to help prevent and recover from carpal tunnel syndrome.

“There are more important issues or objects that deserve their own day that take precedent over Bubble Wrap day,” Vranesevic said. “Bubble Wrap would be the last thing that comes to mind for an appreciation day.”

Although the concept of an appreciation day for a packing material may be a little far-fetched for some, it’s hard to deny that popping it is actually quite fun.

“It’s useful and fun at the same time,” Delciappo said.

Renee Volchko, sophomore visual communication and design major, agreed.

“It is probably useful to shipping companies, but the only use I find is to pop it,” she said. “It is a stress reliever. I might have to buy some on exam day.”

Contact features reporter Elizabeth Rund at [email protected].