I’m sure many of you love water gel beads as much as I do! There are so many ways to use water beads, may it be as decoration in flowers or for arts and crafts. But once their lifespan is up, it may leave you wondering how to dispose of them properly.
Because of their nature, you can’t just chuck them in your trash can! So read on to know more about disposing of water gel beads properly.
What Are Water Gel Beads?
Water gel beads or Gel Balls were designed for floral arrangements, as they offer decorative elements to vases of flowers while controlling water absorption. They are made with water and water-absorbing polymer, which fills up and expands like a sponge if they aren’t pre-soaked.
These beads arrive tiny and dehydrated, then grow once in the water, expanding to the size of a marble. They also come in various colors, or you can color your own beads. They feel like slippery and squishy marbles when they expand in water.
These gel water beads can also be used as play toys or education purposes, but take note that while they are non-toxic and environment-safe, this is a choking hazard for younger children, especially those who like to mouth things. You may opt for alternative water gel beads that are taste-safe, though.
How to Dispose of Water Gel Beads Properly
While fun to play with and display, it may be time to dispose of them when you’re done using them.
But remember, disposing of them isn’t to drain them down your faucet, or throwing them in the trash can. In fact, you should NOT put them down the drain or flush them in the toilets or sewage system.
If you do this, then these water gel beads would be taken out to the environment and bodies of water, which may be mistaken for food by sea creatures. Flushing them down may also cause backing and clogs in your toiler, possibly an overflow as well. This isn’t only messy, but a hassle to clean after.
Fortunately, there are different options you can follow to dispose of them properly, such as:
Shrink and Reuse
You can always recycle your water gel beads, which is an environment-friendly solution. This should be the first option when throwing anything, rather than placing them in the garbage right away, which would end up in landfills.
To do this, just shrink your water gel beads back to their pre-filled size and store them properly in a cool location. When you’re ready to use it again for décor or art projects, just fill them up with water again!
You can shrink the beads by leaving them under the sun to dry, though this may cause them to break down. Instead, keep them in a warm and dry area away from water, having a dehumidifier to quicken the shrinking process.
Add to the Soil
Yes, you can add water gel beads to the soil, which is a way you can reuse the water beads without having clutter in the house. Water gel beads are NOT safe for consumption, but they are biodegradable and have the similar polymer clay you find in your soil.
When placed in soil, they will absorb and release water, taking 3-24 months before they break down. What’s great is that they also prevent soil from drying out too quickly.
All you need to do is to crumble up the water gel beads and add them to your soil, whether outdoors or in potted plants. They are best used for potting plants, as the polymer used in water gel beads is also used in most bagged potting soil.
Place Them in the Garbage
Now I know I mentioned not to chuck it in the bin, but this is your absolute last resort, and a better one compared to flushing it down the toilet. They shouldn’t be thrown into the recycling bin with your cans and cardboard, though. Place them in a separate bin to prevent them from mixing with recyclable items.
They will most likely end up in landfills, which is unfortunate, but at least the water gel beads would shrink down until they become almost nothing, only taking a few centimeters of space. That said, it’s still best to use other environment-friendly options!
Wrapping It Up
Hopefully, you learned all about water gel beads and how you can dispose of them the right way. If you’re planning to replace the current water gel beads you have now, keep these tips in mind to ensure mess-free disposal.
Do you have questions or want to share your insights on water gel beads and how to use and dispose them? Share them in the comments section below, I appreciate all of your thoughts.