Let's Talk Trash: Reusing silica gel packets

Have you ever wondered what to do with those silica gel packets that occasionally come with snacks or other goods you bring home from the store?

If you’re like us, you’re wondering if there might be another use for these, seemingly, single-use items. And, eureka, we’ve come up with a few. So, gone can be the days of tossing these valuable little packets into the landfill.

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Coming in a variety of shapes and sizes, silica gel packets are used as a desiccant, a fancy term for removing moisture. They keep those seaweed snacks dry, and your sneakers free from mould before they get to your table or feet. Once they arrive and are exposed to our moist coastal air, they can quickly reach their water-carrying capacity, but there are ways to recharge them.

Set your gel packets near the warmest and driest places in your home overnight, and then store them in a ziplock bag until you have need. Placing them in the oven at 200 Fahrenheit for two hours will also do the trick. Tips on how to dry in the microwave are also available online.

A word of warning, though, silica should be kept out of reach of children, as they are not edible.

These little packets can come in handy in all sorts of situations. If you’re going on a rainy hike, put them in with your cracker snacks or in a ziplock with any electronics you have on the journey.

Planning on a tropical winter getaway? Clothing can get mouldy pretty quickly in the rainforest, so have a few of these on hand to wick away moisture from some choice items you keep stored in ziplocks.

Use the heat of the sun or an oven to “recharge” them, when needed. They will be especially useful to have near any laptops or other electronics that can experience water damage in moist environments.

Around the house, these little packets are great at keeping moisture away from precious photo albums and scrapbooks.  Any long-term storage boxes in your garage or basement, where it is cool and damp, can benefit from a few silica packets tossed in. How about a few in your holiday ornament rubbermaid, at the bottom of your clothes hamper (remove before laundry time), near your loose tea bags, by a hearing aid, in your jewellery drawer, or next to your camping gear?  

The difference between trash and treasure is often simply about finding another use for something. Send us your inspirations for how you add life to so called “trash.”

Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program.

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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