Where mailing and delivery services make our lives easier, they bring a serious disposal problem. The food, medicines, and other items we usually order are delivered, and ice packs keep these items fresh.
If you’re a regular online buyer, you’ll probably have enough ice packs to construct an igloo very soon, which you’d never want. So, what should you do? Throw these ice packs away? Or can you recycle ice packs?
Yes, you can recycle ice packs. They must be broken down first to remove the gel; then, the plastic can be recycled after cleaning and drying. Another great option is to reuse them later.
Ice packs are usually safe and can be thrown away easily. You can also take an environment-friendly approach and recycle them. Recycling ice packs is a very simple act that lets you play a significant role in saving your surroundings and ensuring environmental sustainability.
How To Recycle Ice Packs
There are several ways to recycle ice packs. While some of these are simple enough for anyone to perform independently, others could be a bit advanced for many. To finish the process, people who recycle all ice packs that come their way need to go to specified recycling centers.
Even when the initial steps of the recycling process are easy and can be done at home, carrying them out is a bit tiring. Several sub-steps are involved in this recycling process, each demanding special care and backed by logic and science.
Given below is a step-by-step guide for recycling ice packs. We’ve tried to explain every step in detail while keeping things as simple as possible. So, let’s get started.
1. Remove the Gel
A major portion of every ice pack is this specified gel enclosed in a plastic case. Once you’ve gathered all the ice packs you need to recycle, your first task is to take out this gel from plastic wrap.
The gel is usually harmless, but it’s better to carry out this step outdoors, with fresh air available. Also, wearing disposable gloves is advisable to make clean-up a lot easier.
Take a disposable bowl or a plastic tray and start unpacking the ice packs one by one. Remove the gel, put it in the bowl, and put the outer plastic container in a separate container.
Make sure that you let the gel dry before throwing it out. Please do not put it down the drain.
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2. Let the Gel Dry
Now that you’ve successfully separated the gel from the plastic, it is time to set the gel aside to let it dry. This step can take a few hours to a week for the gel to dry completely.
Some gels can be flammable when they dry, so don’t try to heat them in the oven or on the stove to speed up the drying process.
The main reason to dry the gel is to reduce its weight and keep it from making a huge mess in the trash. If you don’t mind dealing with slimy trash and the weight isn’t a problem, you can throw it away without drying it.
3. Dry and Clean the Plastic
Even when you’ve removed the gel from it, an ice pack’s plastic coating can still feel sticky and wet. Ice packs are made up of a specialized kind of plastic that a basic recycler cannot recycle.
This is somewhat similar to the plastic that grocery shopping bags are made up of. You’re good to go if your home recycling system allows such plastics to be recycled in the curbside container. You can put the wet plastic in your recycler, and you’re done.
On the other hand, if your recycler isn’t capable of recycling such stuff (more probable), you will have to take it to a specialized recycling space. This is why it becomes necessary to dry and clean the plastic to whatever extent possible before you take it out.
By doing so, you can save your clothes and your car seat from getting stained. Some recycling units also offer discounts to customers who present them with cleaner and less messy stuff to recycle.
4. Take the Plastic To a Recycler
Chances are that your recycling machine cannot recycle the ice pack plastic. This is why, once the plastic pieces are dry and clean, you should pack them neatly in a cloth bag and drop this bag at a nearby recycling unit. After this, whether you want to take the recycled stuff back home or leave it, there is yours.
What Can I Do If I Can’t Recycle the Ice Packs?
Recycling ice packs could be too much for a lot of people. If that’s the case with you, you can either re-use these ice packs or give them away. There are a few online ventures and stores where you can donate or sell ice packs if they’re in proper condition.
Most of the ice packs are reusable. You can store them in a freezer to soothe injuries or keep your drinks cold on a picnic or sports event. In any case, throwing the ice packs away shouldn’t be your choice.
People worldwide are taking simple steps towards a better and cleaner environment. Ice packs can contribute greatly to landfills and might become a new bio-hazard soon.
This is why you should try your best to recycle any ice pack that you have to lie around. Doing so takes us a little closer to having a clean environment for the coming generations.