As the delivery of fresh food such as courier service and early morning delivery increases, the use of ice packs is increasing rapidly. About 200 million ice packs are used annually! How do you use the ice pack and how is it handled?
When you deliver frozen or refrigerated foods, the Ice Pack will always come with you. To keep food fresh instead of ice.
It is common to see a lot of deliveries for fresh foods such as courier service. The problem is that the ice packs are so bulky that they usually tear and throw away the contents and the plastic inside.
The usual ice packs on the market are filled with superabsorbent polymers. Super absorbent resin is a 'polymer that has a three-dimensional network structure and has a large amount of hydrophilic groups and can absorb a large amount of water without being dissolved in water.' It is a resin that absorbs water tens to hundreds of times its own weight.
The material itself absorbs water and absorbs a lot of water, and it does not release water at moderate pressures, making it a commonly used material for making diapers and sanitary napkins.
What happens if you tear up an ice pack bag containing these superabsorbent polymers and throw them away in the sewer? In addition to environmental pollution, side effects occur when marine organisms eat it and eat it through the food chain.
Sewage treatment plants also have the potential to combine with other materials and destroy sewage systems.
How do you handle ice packs? When you throw away the ice pack, you have to put it in the measuring bag and dispose it as general garbage. Do not dispose of contents in food waste bags. If the volume is burdensome, it is advisable to dry the contents in the sun to reduce the volume and throw it away as general waste.
The Ministry of Environment is considering a policy to impose environmental fees on ice packs that are difficult to recycle. The government also said it will implement a policy to encourage the distribution of ice packs with low environmental load.
There is also a way to recycle. If you put enough water in the pot and put the contents of the ice pack, the super absorbent resin prevents the evaporation of water and supplies water to keep the pot moist even if you do not water it for a long time.
You can also use it as an air freshener. Put the contents of the ice pack in a suitable bottle and add a few drops of coloring and flavoring oil.
Other than that, there are various places that are trying to recycle ice packs. A home shopping company has introduced a service to collect ice packs that are not needed at home. Depending on the number of ice packs, shopping points may be paid. Recently, ice packs are recycled in traditional markets.
Pohang also recycles discarded ice packs and uses them to moisturize poor growth trees that are affected by drought. In addition to helping trees grow, it is a significant action in terms of resource recycling.
Recently, instead of ice packs, frozen or water mixed with starch is added to the courier as an ice pack!
I hope that the use of ice packs that are less of an environmental burden will increase.