How to dispose of ice packs?

In this article, we discuss the various ways one can use in order to dispose of ice packs received in food delivery services and other similar operations.

How to dispose of ice packs?

You can use the following ways in order to dispose of ice packs:

  • Dispose in curbside recycling system
  • Donate the Gel Ice Packs to a Food Bank or Other Charitable Organizations
  • Give Them Away to Friends and Family
  • Upcycling

Disposing ice packs

You may already have a supply of cold packs if you get your meals delivered. These gel-filled plastic bags keep perishable food cool for a long time. 

But, once you have unpacked your order, what do you do with the cold packs? Instead of eating out, more of us are turning to meal delivery services. 

These services range from delivering completely prepared meals to supplying supplies and recipes so you can prepare the dinner yourself, but they all have one thing in common: the food must be refrigerated to stay fresh. 

Gel packs are a popular option for food delivery services since they keep cold longer than ice. The packs are convenient and reusable, consisting of sealed, thick plastic bags filled with re-freezable gel.

But what if you have more than you can utilise right now? Is it possible to recycle them?

How to Make Your Gel Ice Packs at Home?

You might be afraid to get rid of all the gel ice packs because you think you will need one at some moment.

In such case, we will show you how to produce your own gel ice pack anytime you need one, and you may safely dispose of any remaining gel ice packs.

Two Ziploc bags or other sealable plastic bags, two cups of water, and one cup of 70% rubbing alcohol are required. Then take the following steps:

  • Combine the water and rubbing alcohol in a mixing bowl.
  • Fill one of the bags with the mixture.
  • Seal the bag after removing as much air as possible.
  • To avoid damage and leaks, place the bag inside the other bag.
  • To make it easier to mould, place the ice pack in a flat position in your freezer.
  • Allow the pack to freeze for at least an hour before wrapping it in a towel and applying it to your body.

How to dispose of ice packs?

You can use the following ways in order to dispose of ice packs:

  • Dispose in curbside recycling system
  • Donate the Gel Ice Packs to a Food Bank or Other Charitable Organizations
  • Give Them Away to Friends and Family
  • Upcycling

We shall discuss these in more detail below

Dispose in curbside recycling system

The first step is to figure out the type of gel ice pack you have and what kind of chemical it includes. The disposal method may fluctuate somewhat depending on the stuff within.

There are several types of ice packs for various uses. Water and an activating ingredient are found in instant ice packs.

These are great for first aid kits, and because they do not contain any harmful materials, you can easily dispose of them by tossing them in the garbage.

Aside from that, there are ice packs that may be reused. Different sorts of chemicals are included inside them.

These ice packs may have water blended with another component to boost their capacity to maintain frigid temperatures.

Sometimes they are just plain water, while other times they are filled with refrigerant gel. You can find out what is inside by looking at the ice pack’s label.

Otherwise, you can contact the ice pack’s maker to learn more about the ingredient within.

The next step is to remove the gel or whatever liquid is contained within the gel ice pack. While you may dump the entire ice pack in the trash, this is not the most ecologically friendly method of disposal.

These will only take up additional landfill area. It is preferable to separate and recycle each component of the gel ice pack.

Thankfully, the gel ice packs only have two components to be concerned about. There is an outside layer of plastic and an inside layer of material.

You have probably worked out what the stuff within the ice pack is by now. It is now up to you to get rid of it.

If the ice pack contains plain water, you can cut a corner of the ice pack and allow the water to drain into the sink.

If the ice pack includes any other liquid or refrigerant gel, cut the corner off and empty the contents into your ordinary trash can.

This liquid should not be poured down the sink or any other drain since it might block pipes and cause other issues.

Pour the gel into a tray if you want to go the extra mile for the environment. The gel will begin to dry after a time, and as it does, it will reduce in size.

You may dispose of it in the same manner as previously after it has finished shrinking.

This time, though, it will take up less room in your trash can and, as a result, less space in landfills. It will also be less difficult to manage.

Now you must deal with the gel ice pack’s plastic lid. You could dump the plastic in the garbage once more, but it is not the most environmentally friendly approach to dispose of the ice pack cover.

Once the gel or water inside has been removed, rinse the plastic cover with water to remove any remaining residue. The plastic cover should then be dried. It is then ready to be recycled.

Recycling does not imply that you may throw it in the same bin as your other paper or glass items.

Different materials are recycled in different ways. If you discard plastic alongside these goods, it may become trapped in machine gears and belts intended for other recyclables.

At recycling centres, this procedure wastes a lot of time, money, and effort. As a result, ensure sure the plastic cover goes in the appropriate recycling container.

Take it to your local recycling centre and inquire about how to properly dispose of it.

If you do not want to make the journey, ask the recycle centre if they pick up the recycling products from the dwellings.

Donate the Gel Ice Packs to a Food Bank or Other Charitable Organizations

You can donate gel ice packs to a food bank or other charitable organisations as long as they are not punctured, leaking, or otherwise damaged.

Food banks can utilise the gel ice packs to keep food cold while shipping or distributing it over great distances.

You can also donate the ice packs to schools, churches, or other similar organisations so that they can be used to keep lunches cool and prevent them from spoiling.

You may also donate them to humanitarian groups like Goodwill, which will utilise them to keep food products cold.

This manner, you can get rid of all of the gel ice packs that have accumulated in your home while also assisting others in need. Because the ice packs are not thrown away, you will also be helping the environment.

Give Them Away to Friends and Family

You might also ask your friends and relatives if they have any gel ice packs at home.

If someone in your social circle is planning a trip to the beach or camping, the gel ice packs will come in handy in keeping their beverages chilled.

Similarly, if any of your friends have just had an injury or you know any athletes who are prone to injury, you may offer the ice packs to them as well.

They can use the gel ice packs to relieve pain and inflammation from their injuries. Check that all of the gel ice packs are in good working order before giving them away.

Damaged or leaking containers should not be used since they may contaminate food and reduce its efficiency. To avoid the transmission of germs, wash and dry the gel ice packs before giving them out.


It is also a good idea to repurpose the cold packs. Think about what you can do with the pack after it is no longer frozen. Perhaps you want extra cushioning for packing or something squishy to place between fragile objects in the attic? 

The bags may be stuffed with soft material and used as a bed for a small dog (but not used as a cushion for cats, larger dogs, or people since the packs would burst). 

Inquire with the children you know if their dolls may benefit from a trampoline or a waterbed. During combat, action figures could employ squishy sandbags.


In this article, we discussed the various ways one can safely dispose of ice packs in a non-polluting and environmentally-friendly manner.


What To Do With the Goo?

You must dispose of the gel before recycling the bag. The frozen gunk inside many food delivery firms’ cold packs should be thrown away. 

To save landfill space, I recommend letting it air dry first. Empty the contents of the bag onto a baking sheet and let it aside to dry overnight before throwing it away.

Although your food delivery service may advise you to flush the drink, this is not a smart idea. This technique is discouraged by solid waste agencies, because it can choke sewers.

Some firms claim that the liquid contents may be used as a plant fertiliser. This sounds amazing, but you should be sceptical of it until you know precisely what is inside.

If the manufacturer’s name is printed on the package, you can contact them and ask for the ingredients. However, if you receive no response and still want to try it, dilute the goo with water and apply it on a plant you do not care for as a test. 

Otherwise, the cold pack gel is not recyclable and should be discarded.

Is the Gel or Liquid Inside Gel Ice Packs Dangerous?

Do not worry if your gel ice packs are punctured or otherwise damaged, causing the gel inside to leak, and you are reluctant to handle it yourself.

While the gel or liquid within it may appear to be deadly and hazardous, it is not. Most gel ice packs are comprised of cellulose or polymer, which is completely safe and biodegradable.

While you should not aggressively ingest the gel, you also should not be afraid of it. If it comes into touch with your fingers or hands, it will not hurt your skin.

In fact, even if you take a little bit of it by accident, you need not be concerned.


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