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How To Dispose of Gel Ice Packs?


Everyone has one or two of these packs in their freezer, and no one knows where they came from. Gel ice packs are handy for icing a sore knee or a bump on the head, as well as keeping frozen foods and liquids cool in ice boxes during long journeys. They are incredibly useful, but can be bulky and can take up a lot of space in your freezer, and you may be wondering how to get rid of them.

Unfortunately, tossing them in the trash can is not the option when it comes to environmental protection. We'll show you how to properly dispose of frozen gel packs so you can rest assured that you're doing the correct thing.


The Best Way to Dispose Gel Ice Packs


A man holding a gel pack on his knee

Credit: Poison Control


Have too many ice packs in your freezer and are not sure how to get rid of them? Following are the best ways to get rid of gel ice packs without causing any damage to the environment:


1) Identify the Type of Gel Pack You Have and Its Contents


The first step is to determine what kind of gel ice pack you have and what ingredients it includes. Depending on the ingredients, the disposal method may differ slightly.

If your ice pack has a strong plastic shell, throw it away because it contains no dangerous materials and will not leak causing harm to the environment.


2) Empty Flexible Plastic Gel Packs


If your ice pack is made up of a flexible plastic casing, defrost it before cutting it open and squeezing the gel into the trash. The plastic film should then be rinsed, dried, and recycled. Because this is a unique sort of plastic, similar to that used in grocery bags, it must be recycled at a specific site. Do not toss it in the garbage. If you don't want to travel all the way, ask the recycling facility if they can collect the product. You may have to pay a charge, but at the very least you are not harming the environment. The plastic film can also be dropped off for recycling at some stores: these include mostly grocery stores and major retail chain stores.

Gel packs can cause serious blockages in your pipes, so be sure it's not washed down a drain or flushed down the toilet. If your ice packs are just filled with water, you can drain the liquid in the sink and then recycle the plastic bags it came in.


3) Donate Them


If your gel packs are still useable, consider donating them instead of throwing them away. You can post them on Craigslist, Freecycle, and eBay, among other sites and apps.

You might also donate them to a food bank that will accept ice pack donations. Food banks can use the donated ice pack to keep food fresh while delivering it to distant locations. Similarly, you can give leftover ice packs to schools, churches, and charitable organizations so that they can be used to keep lunches cool and fresh.


4) Give Them Away to Friends, Relatives, and Athletes


Another way to get these gel packs off your hands is by giving them away to relatives, friends, or athletes you may know. Gel packs are often used to relieve pain and inflammation from sports or other activities-related injuries.

Your relatives and friends might find the packs useful to use when going on long road trips, camps, or just a picnic at the beach or the park. These packs will keep their foods and drinks cool and fresh. However, before giving them away, make sure that the pack does not have any damage to it as this lower the effectiveness of the packs and renders them useless.


Can Gel Packs Be Used As Plant Fertilizer?


A person using the contents of a gel pack as fertiliser

Credit: Enviro Ice


Although some manufacturers claim that the gel can be used as a plant fertilizer, you should be cautious until you know exactly what ingredients are in it. If the name of the manufacturer is mentioned on the package, you can contact them and request the ingredients. If you don't get a response and still want to try it, dilute the contents with water and test it on a plant to see how it reacts.


How Do Gel Packs Impact the Environment?


A person holding microscopic plastic fragments in his hand

Credit: iStock


Gel packs are becoming the leading cause of microplastic pollution. Microplastics are microscopic plastic fragments that form as a result of the development of commercial products as well as the breakdown of larger plastics. They are a pollutant that can impair the ecosystem and animal health. Microplastics have been observed in the water supply, alcohol, and food products, especially seafood.

The gel inside these packs contains super absorbent polymer, a form of microplastic. When the content is disposed of in landfills or incinerated, it generates a slew of environmental issues.

Because it absorbs water, the substance reduces incineration efficiency and raises operational costs. During incineration, harmful gases might also be released. Polymer takes roughly 500 years to break down. As a result, reusing and recycling these packs is the best approach to avoid any environmental harm.




Gel ice packs can be helpful in a variety of situations, but they can also be dangerous. What's the use of ditching plastic straws when still using these packs? Why not put your money towards something that is more environmentally friendly? Introducing Nice Packs Dry Ice Packs. These packets contain zero polymers and can be reused numerous times while taking up minimal freezer space. Check us out right now!