Why Choose Bubble On Demand vs. Bubble Wrap

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Bubble wrap is one of the most popular packaging products available. Experts estimate that the UK alone produces around 240,000 miles of it each year!

While bubble wrap rolls can prove a good, lightweight choice for protecting products, they have drawbacks too. They can be bulky to store and transport, consuming lots of energy to move through supply chains.

Also, due to the Plastic Packaging Tax and Extended Producer Responsibilities being introduced. This legislation is placing a positive focus on reviewing the impact of transport for bulk solutions. Many plastics face a weight-based tax, so it is logical to explore alternatives with a lower footprint.

So, what’s the solution? Enter on-demand bubble wrap. It can help reduce your material use, free up storage space and cut your transport costs and emissions. It can be a game-changer for eco and cost-conscious companies!

This article explains on-demand bubble wrap and its benefits, comparing it to traditional bubble wrap for packaging.

Bubble on Demand

Understanding Bubble on Demand

First, let’s look at understanding bubble on demand…

What is on demand bubble wrap?

Bubble on demand (aka on-demand bubble wrap) is a type of inflatable air cushion packaging. It combines the protective benefits of bubble wrap with the benefits of using a more compact packaging material.

It comes on deflated, compact, and manageable rolls in boxes that can be stacked and stored anywhere in a warehouse or facility. Before packing, the material is then inflated on-demand, as and when needed.

There are lots of different on-demand bubble wrap packaging products available. One of the most popular is Sealed Air’s NewAir I. B.® Flex. It can inflate rolls of film, as well as bubble wrap bags and specialist films like anti-static bubble wrap.

How on-demand bubble wrap works

On-demand bubble wrap is designed for use with an inflation system. The deflated film is passed through an inflation machine as and when needed.

Typically, bubble on demand inflation systems have a small footprint and can produce ambient air – there is no need for a compressed airline to be fitted.

These systems can inflate bubble at a rate of approximately 27 metres per minute and can sit neatly on a packing station or on a purpose-made stand. A winder is commonly available to create bundles that are easy to handle.

Common uses for on demand bubble wrap

Just like regular bubble wrap, you can use bubble on demand to protect a wide variety of goods.

Films with a smaller bubble are best suited to lightweight application, like wrapping jewellery, books and cosmetics. On-demand bubble films with larger bubbles are better suited to protecting heavier products or the most fragile products, like ceramics. For electronic devices using anti-static bubble on demand can provide specialist protection.  

Bubble on Demand

Unpacking the Benefits of Bubble on Demand

Now you know what bubble on demand is, what about the benefits it offers? Compared to regular bubble wrap rolls, on-demand bubble wrap offers significant advantages.

Cost effectiveness of bubble on demand

One of the main advantages offered by bubble on demand is its cost effectiveness.

Initially, the rolls of film are compact to ship and store. This means you can reduce associated transport and storage costs. If you are paying per pallet space for your storage, this could make a huge difference compared to traditional bubble wrap. For example, just one pallet of Bubble Wrap® IB film is equivalent to 90 large rolls of bubble wrap, which would take up 46 square meters of space or 38 pallet spaces!

In addition, using the automated inflation machine can help you control the amount of packaging material you use. For example, the above mentioned NewAir I.B.® Flex system can reduce excess material use by up to 50%. The knock-on effect of this is controlling how much you spend on packing material compared to regular bubble wrap.

As using bubble on-demand is a type of packaging automation, it can help you more effectively control labour costs too, as your packing will be more efficient!

Environmental impact of using bubble on demand

Not only can on-demand bubble wrap save you money, but it also has a positive environmental impact.

Unlike traditional bubble wrap, bubble on demand produces the exact amount of cushioning needed for each pack. This eliminates material use and overall packaging waste created.

Plus, the more compact material can dramatically reduce CO2 impact of your supply chain. As mentioned above, it can take 97% fewer vehicles to deliver, which can significantly cut emissions and fuel use.

How bubble on demand can streamline your packing process

A switch to on-demand bubble packaging can also offer efficiency savings and streamline your packing processes.

It all starts during goods in handing. Traditional bubble wrap is big and bulky compared to bubble on demand. Bubble wrap, even when compressed, can take up a significant amount of space relative to its weight. Its irregular shape can also make it difficult to stack neatly and efficiently, leading to wasted space and inefficient use of transportation capacity.  This all requires extra handling and takes up time.

However, just one pallet of on-demand bubble film can give your warehouse team back a significant amount of time that they were spending unloading cumbersome rolls of bubble wrap.

On top of reducing handling, using bubble on demand is a type of packaging automation. The speedy inflation systems can deliver the protective packaging you need in seconds. This can cut pack times and help you increase the number of parcels you’re able to dispatch.

Bubble on Demand

Comparing Bubble on Demand and Buying Bubble Wrap

Now we know about bubble on demand, when we consider bubble on demand vs. buying bubble wrap, how do the two compare?

  • Key similarities and differences – both options provide excellent protection and cushioning for your products, so they can be used for easy wrapping and filling. The key difference between the two is their format. This impacts how you handle, transport and store the packaging, as well as your packing processes. Bubble on demand can be produced instantly in the right quantity, eliminating waste.
  • Cost comparison – on face value traditional bubble wrap rolls will look cheaper. However, bubble on demand systems can offer significant savings in the long run. While the initial investment may be higher, especially for larger-scale operations, the savings across storage, transport, labour, efficiency and the environment payback quickly.
  • Sustainability – when it comes to the environment, bubble on demand systems have the upper hand. The compact material can help significantly decrease your emissions and fuel usage, plus on-demand delivery helps you cut your material use, reducing packaging waste.
Bubble on Demand


In conclusion, making the switch from buying bulk bubble wrap to bubble on demand is a smart packaging choice that can deliver valuable cost-savings, while reducing your environmental impact. The eco-friendly swap can also offer improved productivity and significant space savings.

So, if you’re looking for ways to prioritise sustainability, while keeping costs in check and protecting your products, bubble on demand could be the solution for you.

Ready to make the switch to bubble on demand? Contact us now to find out about our eco-friendly packaging options and begin safeguarding your products in a sustainable manner.