Do you own gel ice packs that you use to cool water and have on long bike rides? Let’s face it; gel ice packs can make your freezer messy, especially if you have several of them lying around.
In fact, if you use them regularly, they could end up taking up much of the limited space in your freezer.
A good idea would be to get rid of the gel pack in a recycling bin. This way, you ensure that the gel pack doesn’t end up in your garbage.
If the ice pack material leaks into the trash, it could end up contaminating the area.
How to Dispose of Gel Ice Packs Safely
Identify Your Gel Ice Pack Type
The first step is to figure out the gel pack’s material.
If it has a lot of sugar, that’s ethylene glycol, the substance in antifreeze. Trace amounts of it are found in some energy drinks.
Ice packs that contain ethylene glycol need to be recycled, not put in the trash can. If the gel pack has a pliable polyurethane cover, that’s the substance used in foam packaging.
These ice packs should be literally smashed to smitherines, not put in the trash can. However, if the label is blank, you won’t be able to find out.
The disposal method may differ from those mentioned below.
It’s a good idea to dispose of gel ice packs using a garbage disposal unit. However, it’s also possible to dispose of gel ice packs in dumpsters.
If you’re not sure whether to dispose of gel ice packs in the trash or in the dumpster, it’s best to get in touch with someone and find out.
Water and an activating chemical make up the bulk of your ice pack, but you may need to guess if the ingredient is harmful.
You can find out what’s inside the ice packs by looking on the packaging.
Once you open the packaging, look at the product and look for ingredients like propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is a chemical used in a wide range of consumer products.
If you’ve ever melted down a cup of chocolate in the microwave, you’ve probably used propylene glycol.
Propylene glycol is commonly used to make clear gels like freeze pops, which can melt into water when frozen again.
If you no longer use gel ice packs, you can safely toss them in the trash.
If you have a lot of gel ice packs that are in the gel form, you have to get rid of them in a different way. Recycled gel ice packs are not biodegradable and can harm the environment.
Remove the Gel Ice Pack’s Liquid/Gel
The next step is to remove the gel ice.
Gel ice packs are made up primarily of water and gel. Once it has started to dry, dispose of it as you would other pieces of trash.
If the ice pack is just filled of water, it may also be discarded in the same way.
Cut the corner and dump it into your household trash.
This liquid should not be poured down the sink at all because it is likely to create clogs.
You may dispose of the whole gel ice pack in your regular trash, but you should first transfer the liquid from the package into a sealable plastic bag.
You can also get rid of the extra plastic by recycling it.
It is preferable to cut down on your ice pack usage instead of using gel packs.
The gel will begin to dry after several days, and it needs to be disposed of separately from the rest of your trash.
You may toss it in your regular trash or recycle it if you reuse items.
Rinse the Ice Pack’s Plastic Cover
Now you must deal appropriately with the gel ice pack’s contents.
If you do not, the gel could potentially cause a waste disposal issue. To dispose of gel ice packs in an appropriate manner, you have a few options.
You can compost the gel pack’s contents or return them to the store for recycling. The latter option is not particularly environmentally friendly, however.
Otherwise, you can compost your gel ice packs by placing them in a sealed plastic bag and burying them in your backyard or compost bin.
You could dump the plastic in the garbage once it’s dry, but be sure to keep it out of landfills.
Once the gel or water inside has dried up, you can safely dispose of the plastic cover.
The plastic cover is durable and can be recycled at many locations, including the recycling center or at curbside collection.
Make sure to recycle the Gel Ice Pack’s Clean Plastic Cover
Recycling does not imply that you may just “throwaway” something, and throwing something in the garbage is not recycling.
Recycling is essentially the process of taking material, which is usually discarded, and reusing it in another product or process to create another product.
If you discard plastic alongside these goods, it will end up in the recycling center’s machinery.
As a result, ensure sure the gel ice pack is firmly attached and has no cracks, holes, or is heavy before throwing it away.
Take it to your local recycling center, and they might allow you to dispose of it there. Local recycling centers are worth checking into because they typically offer more than simply recycling.
Whether you don’t want to make the journey, or you’re not sure where the recycling area is in your area, the gel ice packs are easy to dispose of.
How to Make Your Gel Ice Packs at Home
You could be afraid to get rid of gel ice packs because they’re so expensive. However, the cost of gel ice packs can add up quickly.
Two Ziploc bags or other sealable plastic bags, a small container of water, and a spoon is all you need to get started.
Add the rubbing alcohol to the water, stir, and then pour the mixture into the plastic bag. Place the bag with the gel ice packs in the freezer until the rubbing alcohol inside the bag is frozen.
Fill the bags with a mixture containing one cup of rubbing alcohol and two cups of water, and you can completely eliminate the need for gel ice packs in the future.
Allow the pack to freeze for at least two hours, or as long as it takes to remove the ice completely and allow it to harden.
Any gel ice packs that are frozen too long may melt during use, which can decrease the effectiveness of the wraps.
Also Read: How to Dispose of Brake Rotors Safely
Gel ice packs are useful in both food and medical settings, which is why they’re so prevalent.
However, they also come with a large downside. Gel ice packs quickly fill up your freezer and become an eyesore.
Because of this, you may be looking for a strategy to get rid of the ice packs for good. Tossing out gel ice packs is a tricky proposition.
Is it possible to dispose of them in the trash, or do they need a specific method? The first step is to ensure that the gel is completely frozen.
If you get ice packs with your meals or medicine , immediately toss them in the garbage.
Gel ice packs should never be recycled. This means that even if they’re made of biodegradable plastic, they should never be placed in a compost bin.
Instead, take them to the garbage or drop off at a designated recycling center.
So, before they start to pile up, get out of the way, dump them out, and clean up.
Gel ice packs are a bit tougher to dispose of than the average food item. For one, gel ice packs tend to contain some type of pharmaceutical drug that would need to be disposed of properly.
Next, gel ice packs are not easy to recycle, so unless you are recycling gel ice packs for medical purposes, they will be a waste.