In a bold move, BMW and Volkswagen are set to start to work through the world's surplus bubble wrap mountain to coat the inside of their next generation cars.
"It makes sense to us," said Brian McWilliams of Volkswagen. "We get paid to take this excess bubble wrap, and it makes the perfect safety system for cars."
The Bubble Wrap mountain has been growing for the past forty-years since the invention of the packaging material in 1971.
"Bubble wrap makes a great packaging material," said European Minister for Recycling, Tom Marto. "There are several different sizes, but it does not degrade."
All excess bubble wrap has been sent to a factory just outside Lyon in France, where it has been stored. Apart from the occasional storage facility manager extracting a sheet to pop the bubbles while they wait for another delivery, the pile has been growing. Now a use has been found for it.
"There are still some areas of a car that could do with increased safety," said McWilliams. "Airbags, for instance, are really dangerous. If one of those hits you, you know about it. We are going to wrap the airbags in bubble wrap. Also, the support struts of the car and the dashboard will be covered in bubble wrap for those impacts not severe enough to cause airbag deployment. Should the car occupants strike their head on a hard surface the bubble wrap will protect them from injury. It has the advantage that it is light, and adds virtually no weight to the car."
With two of the largest manufacturers making in-roads into the bubble wrap mountain, the other car manufacturers are set to follow suit.
"We reckon," said Marto, "there's enough bubble wrap there to last fifty years. After that, we'll have to add it to the list of items we recycle off cars."