Compostable Ice Packs Double as Fertilizer – For Real?

Compostable Ice Packs Double as Fertilizer – For Real?

In a former post I wrote about our family’s decision to subscribe to a produce box that contains grocery store rejects, with the goal of reducing food waste and supporting organizations that feed the hungry.

But every week that box contains cold packs that we don’t know what to do with. We can’t store an endless supply in the freezer, and throwing them out always felt contrary to the purpose of the subscription. Recently I noticed our Hungry Harvest box included an Enviro Ice pack with claims its gel can serve as a plant fertilizer.

Now, it’s hard to know what to believe when the creator, Frosty Tech, doesn’t share its proprietary formula. But they say the gel is nitrogen-based, and thus usable as a fertilizer for indoor and outdoor plants. The U.S. manufacturer, Pelton Shepherd, recommends diluting 6 oz. of gel in a gallon of water for indoor plants and 17 oz. of gel per gallon of water for outdoor plants.

Based on information I found from the U.K. manufacturer, Hydropac, the outer film is made of a bioplastic containing materials like cardoon seed oil. The film and the gel inside are “industrially” compostable, meaning they can be composted at home but will take longer to break down than typical home composting materials. The packaging claims the gooey gel inside is 100% drain safe if you want to recycle the #4 plastic film (our city is unlikely to recycle plastics like this, so I won’t be putting it in the recycling bin).

I love the idea of giving an ice pack a second use in life, so I am testing out the fertilizer on one house plant to see if it has any noticeable effects. The empty ice pack will go in the compost bin to see how well it breaks down. I’ll report back and let you all know how it works out.

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