For everyone who loves popping Bubble Wrap (and who doesn’t), here’s some bad news: Sealed Air, the company that makes the product which keeps everything safe in transit, is rolling out a new version that doesn’t pop!
Sealed Air says the new version, called iBubble Wrap, was developed because the original product took up too much space in warehouses and delivery trucks.
iBubble Wrap, which will come in super-thin sheets that can be inflated later with a pump, takes up about one-fiftieth of the space needed for the original Bubble Wrap.
The new version looks very much like the original Bubble Wrap but since the bubbles of air are inter-connected, they won’t burst when someone presses on them.
Sealed Air has been selling Bubble Wrap since 1960, three years after it was invented by Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding. The original intended use, however, was very different than how it is used today.
Fielding and Chavannes developed a plastic they hoped to market as textured wallpaper. When the idea didn’t take off, they had some success marketing the product as a greenhouse insulator.
Chavannes realized Bubble Wrap could be an improvement over paper and old newspapers for packaging fragile items. “After a lot of tinkering, (Chavannes and Fielding) developed a special, proprietary barrier protection which prevented air from leaking and resulted in the crisp “Pop” that Bubble Wrap is famous for,” says the website of Sealed Air.
The new version is aimed at space-conscious online retailers, who are key players in the global packaging business. The protective packaging industry is big business and global sales hit $20 billion in 2013, according to the research firm Freedonia Group.