how to dispose of dry ice

How to Dispose of Dry Ice

Did you need dry ice to spice up a birthday party or your Halloween decorations? Dry Ice is a useful but dangerous tool. Read on to learn how to dispose of dry ice.

Dry ice has many uses to the ordinary consumer whether that be to keep food cold longer than regular ice, or to add visual effects for Halloween. Dry Ice gives off a gas this process is called sublimation. Sublimation is what makes Dry Ice stand out and cause a fog like gas. However, this gas can actually lead to some potential hazards. Dry Ice, however, is dangerous because it can cause severe frostbite to the slightest touch of human skin. Dry Ice, because it is made of carbon dioxide if it is released into a closed space, can cause suffocation.

Dry Ice’s main use is as a cooling device but it has made its way into being more versatile. Dry Ice is known for being a more cost effective way of cooling things down. This is because Dry Ice is cooler and does not melt as fast as regular ice. Dry Ice has also found a way to be used as a natural fog machine. Because of the sublimation of the gas, Dry Ice has been used in movies and sometimes even outside of houses for Halloween. 

Steps on Disposing of Dry Ice

Dry Ice is carbon dioxide gas that is kept below freezing. Dry Ice is around -109 degrees Fahrenheit which is so dangerous it can burn with the slightest contact. It is advised that the person disposing of the Dry Ice wears covering clothing to reduce the chances of hurting themself. The person should also find a plastic tray or bucket so that the Dry Ice does not damage the environment. However, these should not be airtight because it may cause an explosion because of the trapped carbon dioxide.  

Dress Appropriately

It is recommended that when disposing of Dry Ice, the person disposing of Dry Ice wears a long-sleeved shirt, pants, closed-toed shoes, insulated gloves, and in extreme cases a respirator mask.  Along with dressing appropriately the person needs to be aware of other people or animals that Dry Ice might injure.

Choose a Safe Location

Picking a safe location like on a patio, in a vacant parking lot, or even a backyard is essential. Outdoor locations are best because it allows for the carbon dioxide to draft out and not cause health problems. It is also a good idea to have a plastic tray or bucket that is not airtight for the Dry Ice to sit in so that it does not harm any natural life in the surrounding area.

Remove Covering 

It is recommended that Dry Ice does not touch food and is usually found covered in plastic or sometimes paper. In order to remove the coverings safely, it is advised that the handler must wear gloves and place the Dry Ice on the ground and use the gloves to slowly peel apart the covering. Remove the covering slowly because it allows for the gas to escape in a safe state.

Use Hot Water

Using Hot Water allows for the Dry Ice to melt quicker but this also comes with more risk. This causes more of a risk because it releases the gas quicker which can lead to suffocation and sometimes the cold gas touching the handler.  The pace at which the Dry Ice melts does allow for the time to be cut significantly.

Allow to Ventilate

After uncovering, allow the Dry Ice to ventilate for about twelve to twenty four hours. This time span will allow for the Dry Ice to completely evaporate into the air. After the Dry Ice has completely evaporated, make sure to thoroughly clean the area that it was in. If it was in a container, it is advised that the container be thrown away. 

What not to do When Getting rid of the Dry Ice

When disposing of Dry Ice, temperature and ventilation are the two most important factors. If you try to sublimate the Dry Ice in temperatures under 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it will take almost twice as long to evaporate. Never wear clothing that exposes skin while handling Dry Ice, this may cause severe burns from frostbite. Dry Ice is easy to get rid of as long as it is done safely and in an open area.

How To Dispose of Dry Ice Summarized

Dry Ice is easy to dispose of as long as the precautionary measures are done. Dry Ice has a lot of potential risks when disposing of it. The important steps in disposing of Dry Ice are to wear appropriate clothing, take safe precautions, pick a good location, and allow for the Dry Ice to evaporate. Dry Ice is used for a bunch of nice effects for a variety of holidays. 

Written by Brian Wolstenholme

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