It’s used to safeguard belongings for shipping, but bubble wrap has benefits far beyond its original purpose. In fact, a 2012 survey by Sealed Air Corporation found that only one minute of popping the bubbles in a sheet of bubble wrap provides greater stress relief than a 33-minute massage!
A Brief History
Even if you’ve never taken part in Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, you can benefit from learning about the product’s air-tight history. Originally conceptualized as a type of wallpaper in 1957, engineers Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding quickly realized their 3-D wall cover wasn’t going to, er, stick. However, the two inventors quickly realized their product would be great as a cover for fragile items that needed protection during shipment.
Over the years, the bubbles have ballooned out in various sizes for various needs. Anti-static bubble wrap is even available to safeguard electronics in transit. Coated with a special chemical, these bags are designed to reduce anti-static charge (which is a red flag for electronics). And to set it apart from its regular counterpart, the static-free variety is often tinted pink. (Why pink? It’s pretty.)
The Popping Sound
The sound associated with bursting bubble wrap bubbles is found entertaining by children of all ages. This sound unintentionally kicked off Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day in 2001, when a radio station received new microphones wrapped in bubble wrap. While live, the on-air personalities broadcast the sounds of bubbles being popped, inspiring the station to honor the audible shipping material.
Over the years, other organizations have begun celebrating the little-known holiday. Retailers offer bubble wrap at a discount and the day often instigates lively conversation by television and radio personalities each year.
A Stress Reducer
Whether they know about the stress-reduction properties of bubble wrap or they simply like to have fun, many consumers hold out sheets of bubble wrap from shipments for later. But there are alternatives that allow children and adults to enjoy the benefits of bubble wrap, without keeping sheets around the house or office for weeks.
One such alternative is the Electronic Bubble Wrap Keychain, like this one at ThinkGeek. Emulating the sound and feel of the real thing, this keychain makes a game out of bubble popping. After the 100th pop, the player even gets a special noise.
If you don’t want to invest in a keychain or a sheet of bubble wrap, you can always download one of the many games meant to emulate the activity. The fact that games like Bubble Pop Fun! and Virtual Bubble Wrap exist only emphasizes how popular it is to pop.
Still, call us old fashioned, but we think nothing quite compares to the real thing!