Although, by January, you have doubtlessly taken down your Christmas lights and recycled your tree, the festivities aren’t over. That’s right, January 25th is National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, which Americans celebrate on the last Monday of January. We here at SSI Packaging love the bubbly stuff, even though we have to save the fun of popping it for our customers. In celebration of bubble wrap, here are 6 facts about it that may surprise you.
Bubble Wrap was originally marketed as wallpaper
Bubble Wrap’s original incarnation was, believe it or not, wallpaper. This isn’t so crazy when one considers the context of the late 1950s. As more and more household gadgets entered the public market, it became quite normal for designers to experiment with futuristic-seeming textures, materials, and patterns. In 1957, an engineer named Al Fielding and a Swiss inventor named Marc Chavannes teamed up to create a three-dimensional, raised wallpaper. To test their idea, they glued two shower curtains together, leaving pockets of air throughout. Ultimately, the wallpaper idea never took off…but luckily, the inventors managed to find a great buyer for their product, in a small manufacturing company called IBM.
Bubble Wrap® is a brand name
Like Chapstick, Kleenex, and Crock-Pots, Bubble Wrap is actually a brand that’s dominated the market so well and for so long that it’s become a ubiquitous term for all items like it. Fielding and Chavannes themselves filed several patents for Bubble Wrap in 1960, and created a company to sell it, called Sealed Air Corporation. More than 60 years later, Sealed Air is still going strong, and its star product has been embraced around the world as a lightweight, yet protective shipping material. Writers beware: if it doesn’t come from Sealed Air, it’s “laminated cushioning material.”
It has incredible protective qualities
But just how protective is it? In 2000, Sealed Air itself decided to answer that question via the rather unconventional method of dropping a pumpkin onto a bubble wrap landing pad. The 815-pound pumpkin, nicknamed “Gourdzilla”, survived the 35-foot fall completely intact—for a few seconds, anyway. “The pumpkin survived the drop,” said then-CEO William Hickey. “The problem is that it bounced.”
Popping Bubble Wrap is scientifically good for your health
For many people—or, dare we say, most people—popping Bubble Wrap ranks among one of life’s greatest pleasures. And beyond being fun, there’s some scientific evidence that it’s actually good for our mental health, too. In 1992, psychology professor Kathleen M. Dillon conducted a study wherein a trial group of undergraduate students were given two sheets to pop, while a control group remained pop-less. At the end of the study, the pop-ers reported that they felt more calm, energized, and alert than they had been before, while the pop-less control students reported feeling more or less the same. Dillon theorized that bubble wrap popping, like finger tapping and other sensory habits, might be a way anxious humans find a way to relieve muscle tension while simultaneously freezing in their tracks.
It sent a military base into lockdown
When most of us picture Bubble Wrap bubbles, we imagine the small, pill-sized kind which make relatively quiet pops. But Sealed Air manufactures its product in all kinds of sizes, and it was sandwich-bag-sized bubbles that ended up sending a New Mexico Air Force base into lockdown. After a civilian employee stomped on several “air pillows” in order to flatten them, another civilian mistook the sound for gunfire, and called 911. Base Director of Public Affairs, Eric Elliott, noted that the caller’s response was doubtlessly influenced by a mass shooting which had occurred in San Bernadino, California, earlier that week. In any case, all was well that ended well, and local authorities were appreciative for the unplanned emergency. “We got a good exercise out of it,” Elliot said.
Get bona-fide Bubble Wrap in Richmond, VA
It’s safe to say that no packaging material has brought more joy to consumers than Bubble Wrap. Whether you need a roll to protect some fragile materials during shipping, or to simply relieve some stress, SSI Packaging has what you need—real, authentic Bubble Wrap made by its original manufacturer, Sealed Air. We also offer a wide range of packaging and shipping materials such as cardboard boxes, bubble mailers, foam cushioning, and packing tape. If you live in or near Richmond, Virginia, stop by and see us, or check out our product inventory online.
Keeping your shipments safe from damage during transport is extremely important. According to recent studies the number one complaint among transportation managers was damaged goods. Although you might hope that the people in charge of shipping your cargo will treat it very carefully, the reality is that many times deliveries are rushed and corners are cut- incurring damages. To make sure that your shipments arrive intact, try these methods to fortify your packaging process.
Block and Brace Shipping
Block and brace shipping is a way to keep goods secured during transit, reducing the risk of excessive movement and damaged cargo. Packages that have been placed into shipping containers can slide around if they are unsecured. Blocking and bracing is a process that reduces the shifting of packages from the front of the shipping container to the back. To do this, metal or wooden beams are placed at strategic points within the shipping container in order to hold items in place. If you are shipping a product with wheels you need to first keep the wheels stabilized and prevent them from spinning. You need to make sure these bracing systems are locked to the container as securely as possible and ensure that the braving systems do not allow for any movement of the cargo they hold.
Void fill is any type of cushioning that is added to your package with the intention of protecting your goods while they are in transit. Void fill should be used in cases when your products are fragile, if there is excess space in the package, if they heavy, or if your product has sharp corners that could be bent or broken during shipment. Typically used in corrugated boxes, void fill has many different options that serve a variety of functions. Some examples of void fill options would be packaging paper, inflatables, loose fill or newsprint paper. Packaging paper is used to fill empty space, protect edges or corners, or to fully protect the product. The protective qualities vary depending on the thickness, strength and resilience of the type of paper that you select. Similar to packaging paper is newsprint paper, which is thinner and generally well suited to provide light protection. Loose fill is convenient and very easy to use; these components are made from expanded polystyrene and can be added to a box to fill in any extra spaces.
Surface protection can be used to protect a wide variety of products, such as painted car parts, mirrors, or anything else with a delicate surface. Surface protectors generally are designed to protect edges, and prevent shock or compression. Bubble wrap, packing foam and protective film are all types of surface protection that work in several different ways. Bubble wrap is a light film that can be supplied in sheeted forms, in pouches, or in rolls. Packing foam is elastic, flexible and water repellent material that offers very good cushioning properties. Protective film is generally used to prevent scuffs and scratches, and can be removed without leaving a residue even after long-term use.
These products and techniques are sure to help your shipments arrive safely to their destination. Having been in the packaging business for over 40 years, SSI Packaging Group understands the need for cost effective and quality packaging. Our premium products help your shipments get from point A to point B. For more information or assistance on how to protect your items in transit feel free to contact us at 804.649.1111.
Small business owners are all too familiar with the challenges that come with reducing shipping costs and maximizing efficiency. Here are a few ideas that can help you to tackle this common challenge.
Don't be afraid to negotiate with carriers
Sometimes it’s easy to feel like a little fish in a big tank, especially when it comes to negotiating shipping rates with popular carriers. But don’t despair; if your business is shipping a high number of goods it is possible to negotiate prices with your carriers. This is because shipping companies set their pricing schedules based upon the volume of items that you ship, so more items usually equal lower rates. To facilitate successful negotiations try to maintain clear goals while presenting reliable data. And probably the most important step: make sure that you reach out to several different shipping companies at once. This will allow you an additional bit of leverage that you could use to your advantage (plus encourages a bit of friendly competition between carriers!).
Maximize efficiency by purchasing a label applicator
Practical solutions like purchasing a label maker can help you streamline your shipping process and reduce costs. This way you can avoid writing each label individually, which takes a lot of time and can look unprofessional. If your looking to eliminate operational issues like jams or mechanical adjustments, The Videojet 9550 is a model that can help improve productivity while lowering costs. For business owners with flexibility in mind, the CTM 360a Series Label Applicators are a series of printers that are an industry standard. These printers can be instantly adjusted onsite with any software updates, ideal for entrepreneurs that are on a time crunch. More interested in thermal printers? The CTM 3600PA Printer Applicator is a durable model that can apply labels at high speeds, and the CTM 1800PA Thermal Transfer Printer Applicator is low cost and efficient-the ideal tool for entry level applicators. By making the move towards professional labeling systems you can set up your business for big payoffs later on down the line.
Choose the right materials
It might be tempting to forgo quality packaging when looking for ways to reduce shipping costs. But using cheap packaging has long-term hidden costs that can damage your reputation, and impact your bottom line. That’s why it’s important to consider not the price of your packaging supplies, but the value of your materials. Instead of picking the cheapest box for your big bulky items, choose corrugated cardboard and heavy-duty boxes so that they can be adequately protected in transit. And try not to make the mistake of assuming that each product can be shipped in any sized box, while filling in the excess spaces with packing foam or bubble wrap. It’s safer and more cost efficient to coordinate packaging sizes with the weight and size of the items you are shipping.
Find a Packaging supplier that will treat you right
SSI Packaging Solutions is a team of specialists that are dedicated to serving any and all of your packaging needs. Whether this means making sure that your items arrive safely, or helping you select quality products- we pride ourselves on providing excellent service to small and big businesses alike. Call us at (804) 649-1111 to speak with a representative or view our products to find out more.