It’s not quite ready yet but we’ve got an all-new, all-singing gel pack hitting our Ice Pack range in early 2020……EnviroGel®.
Why do we need EnviroGel®?
We’ve talked before about the environmental issues of using Gel Ice Packs; some leading environmentalists have gone as far as to say that gel polymer is the new “fat cake” clogging up our drains and sewers, and they’re not far wrong.
Whilst Gel Ice Packs are very effective at what they do – keeping products cold during transit – they’re non-toxic and food contact safe, the gel polymer solution is a plastic derivative and not soluble. This means it cannot be recycled, it is not compostable, and it is not biodegradable, so disposing of it with no impact on the environment is very difficult – even if you “throw it away”, the gel polymer will sit in landfill for years and years to come!
Gel ice packs CAN be reused time and time again and we would highly recommend any end users who receive gel packs in their shipments do this, but this isn’t always possible. The only completely environmentally friendly way to destroy these packs is through incineration, which isn’t always possible either; hence we have a problem!
Gel Polymer Facts
- If one person buys one meal kit per week that is kept cool by gel ice packs in transit, that one person could create 270+ kg of gel polymer waste each year.
- If they then pour the gel polymer away down their drain, it will completely clog their pipes – not straight away, but over time. This then leads to blockages and eventually the polymer will have to be cleared and go to landfill.
- Any gel polymer in landfill won’t break down and will also trap any new fluids it comes into contact with. Eventually, the water table will become polluted by the plastic within the polymer.
- When this happens, the plastic derivative is unlikely to be caught by the water waste stream as it is a ‘micro plastic’, therefore will likely end up in our oceans – and we all know how that ends!
- ‘Micro Plastics’ are small pieces of plastic that are tiny in size; 5mm or less. Because of their size they are extremely hard to clear and cause long lasting damage to aquatic life and wildlife.
- Gel polymer is also known as Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP), HydroGel, Sodium Polyacrylate and Polyacrylate Absorbents. If you come across any of these names on an ice pack, you know you’re dealing with a gel polymer solution.
- If a pack bursts open, it is hard to clean up as loose particles will swell when they make contact with water.
EnviroGel® is the eco-friendly alternative Gel Ice Pack that we will be launching alongside our Water Ice Packs to address these issues. We can’t give too much away yet but what we can say is that EnviroGel® has a wide range of eco-benefits that differentiate it from the industry norm, including:
- Food contact safe
In terms of performance, EnviroGel® will equal Gel Ice Packs and more – it actually runs colder, so products stay cooler in transit!
When will EnviroGel launch?
We don’t have a set launch date we can share as yet but it will be early 2020. EnviroGel® will be at the forefront of our eco-friendly range of temperature controlled shipping products alongside EnviroCool and Recycle-Air; we would urge you to check our full range of environmentally friendly products out over on our Freshpac® range and you can always order samples of different systems and ice packs to “try before you buy” if they sound too good to be true (we can assure you that this is not the case – they are all fab for their intended purposes and it is actually true!)