There has been a lot of talk regarding safer alternatives for dry ice; whilst it is extremely effective in keeping food and medical supplies at a stable temperature during shipping, it is important that anyone working with dry ice should be aware of the health risks when doing so. Dry ice can pose a number of hazards; as it melts, it turns into carbon dioxide gas – whilst this is not toxic, in a small or badly ventilated space, it lowers the pressure of “normal air”. In addition, anyone who handles dry ice without adequate PPE can risk getting a dry ice burn – this is because it is so cold, it kills the cells in your skin upon contact.
As we’ve developed our Ice Pack range, we have spent a lot of time working on a safe alternative for dry ice – obviously traditional water or gel ice packs can be used for shipping temperature sensitive products, but they don’t last as long as dry ice does, and therefore cannot compete in this market. Enter HydroFreeze and our latest addition to the range, HydroFreeze+!
Our original dry ice alternative, HydroFreeze is a gel ice pack that contains a unique, food safe formula designed to maintain temperatures up to -20 °C for approx. 24 hours/-15°C for approx. 36 hours.
- The gel formula itself is made of only natural, food approved ingredients.
- As such, these ice packs do not need to be classed as Hazardous Goods during transit (which dry ice does, as it is classified by the DOT and IATA as a miscellaneous hazard (Class 9) during transportation).
- HydroFreeze ice packs do not require any specialist handling.
- HydroFreeze can maintain frozen temperatures up to -12°C
Our latest addition to the HydroFreeze range, HydroFreeze+ has an updated gel formula that is still natural and not classed as Hazardous Goods during shipping.
- Like HydroFreeze, these ice packs can maintain frozen temperatures up to -20°C for 24 hours and -15 for up to 36 hours.
- They can offer these extended freeze times partly through increased energy absorption during the initial freezing process, which means they must be placed inside a powerful freezer to absorb fully in a good timeframe. They do take longer to freeze than a conventional ice pack.
- Again, these packs do not require any specialist handling.
How do HydroFreeze Ice Packs compare to Dry Ice?
Dry ice lasts around 24 hours in a standard cooler (although maintains a much lower temperature than this, far lower than any food or medicines require), but this time largely depends on the amount of dry ice being used. On average, you need around 10lb to last this long; in comparison, our smallest 660g HydroFreeze ice pack will last 20 hours, although you would need multiples to maintain the temperature for larger shipments.
Whilst dry ice does work well for shipping temperature sensitive products, the benefits must be weighed up against the negatives, particularly the health risks associated with using this method of maintaining temperature.
- Some carriers charge extra for shipping products containing Hazardous Goods
- Anyone handling dry ice must wear adequate PPE to prevent against frostbite or cold burns
- They must also make sure they are in a well ventilated space, to stop a build up of carbon dioxide gas
- Whilst we don’t advocate simply binning our ice packs, if you do they will not release any toxins into the environment – please note though that the emptied pouches are fully recyclable. In comparison, dry ice should never be disposed of in a normal bin or even in a chemical waste container; even when fully evaporated it needs to be sent to a specialist site that accepts hazardous waste goods.
Ultimately, if you need a safer alternative to dry ice that will also save on additional shipping costs, then look no further than HydroFreeze & HydroFreeze+! Available in both freezer trays and courier boxes for differing requirements, these ice packs will give you all the plus points that dry ice can, without the health risks and extra costs!