Where mailing and delivery services make our lives easier, they bring along a serious problem of disposal. The food, medicines, and other items that we usually order are delivered and ice packs that keep these items fresh.
If you’re a regular online buyer, you’ll probably have enough ice packs to construct an igloo very soon, and that’s something 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 have to be broken down first to remove the gel, then the plastic can be recycled after it’s cleaned and dry. Another great option is to just re-use 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.
There are several ways to recycle ice packs. While some of these are simple enough for anyone to perform on their own, others could be a bit advanced for many. People who recycle all ice packs that come their way need to go to specified recycling centers to finish the process.
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 the ice packs. We’ve tried to explain every step in detail while keeping things as simple as we can. So, let’s get started.
1. Remove the Gel
A major portion of every ice pack is this specified gel that is 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 where you’ve 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 and 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. 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 anywhere between 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, then 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 cannot be recycled by a basic recycler.
This is somewhat similar to the plastic that grocery shopping bags are made up of. If your home recycling system allows such plastics to be recycled in the curbside container, then you’re good to go. You can simply 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-messier 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 to a nearby recycling unit. After this, the decision of whether you want to take the recycled stuff back home or leave it there is yours.
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 even sell the ice packs if they’re in proper condition.
Most of the ice packs are reusable. You can store them in a freezer and use them 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 all over the world are taking simple steps towards a better and cleaner environment. Ice packs can contribute a lot to the landfill and might become a new bio-hazard soon.
This is why you should try your best to recycle any ice pack that you have laying around. Doing so takes us a little closer to having a clean environment for the coming generations.