We have many environmental issues to face up to as we move into 2019; plastic in our oceans, raising further awareness of correct recycling practices for recyclable materials, reducing the amount of waste we as a nation put into landfill, and now also the fact that gel polymer is looking set to become the new “fat cake” in our sewers.
Like wet wipes and cooking fat, gel polymer is being poured away down the drain and settling in the sewers. This is a plastic derivative and as such it is not soluble, and it does not break down. After so long, this will turn into a blockage and will need to be dug out, which costs millions every year. Gel is not the only culprit, but it is certainly becoming a larger problem than ever before, and one we need to get on top of.
There’s no avoiding the fact that the use of gel in products such as ice packs has its place, but it’s important that we raise awareness of the substance used inside. Whilst our unique gel formula is completely non-toxic and food contact safe, it can’t be recycled, and it is not biodegradable. The only way to destroy it is through incineration, so pouring it away down the drain is the same as flushing away wet wipes or hot fat – sooner or later, it’s going to cause a problem.
One of the ways to address this is to move to using pure water ice packs instead. Like the gel, ours are completely food contact safe using a 6-stage filtration process and UV light sterilisation. They are burst strength tested to over 200Kg and are also completely, 100% recyclable after use. We’ve also seen a growing trend of people reusing them around the home (more ideas here) or using the water inside to feed the plants, something again you can’t do with the gel pack formula. You can re-use the gel packs in the home, but if you want them gone, then you need to ensure you burn them, so they don’t cause problems for anyone else, or sit in landfill for hundreds of years to come.
Our ice packs are also slightly cheaper per pack. Both the freezer trays and courier boxes start from 19p a pack, whereas the gel packs start from 21p each. When you’re ordering in the hundreds, this is quite a saving, and another reason to switch to water if you haven’t done so already.
We’ve done everything we can to ensure our gel packs are as safe and effective as possible but we do feel there is a strong case to use pure water ice packs where and when possible; ethically, we want to prevent against gel becoming the nation’s next fat cake issue. If gel packs are your preferred method, however, please ensure you are disposing of them correctly. If you’d like any further information on how to do this safely, please give us a call.