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Proper Disposal of Dry Ice

By Raul Avenir ; Updated July 27, 2017

Fog flowing from what looks like ice is an amazing sight, but dry ice is actually solidified carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be harmful if not handled properly. Regular ice is formed at temperatures of 32°F and below, but dry ice is formed at an extremely cold temperature of -109°F. Dry ice sublimates or changes directly from solid to gas; it does not melt. Carbon dioxide vapor, which is heavier than air, is released during the sublimation process. Learn how to properly dispose of dry ice to keep yourself and others safe.

Wear rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and shoes to protect yourself from coming in contact with dry ice. Dry ice can cause severe frostbite within seconds of direct contact, so always keep in mind that dry ice can harm you.

Do not dispose of dry ice in any of the following ways: do not place dry ice in garbage disposals, do not dump it in sewers, do not flush it down the toilet, do not dump it into your sink, do not place it in confined spaces, do not dump it in areas accessible to pets and humans.

Place the dry ice in a plastic container and place the container in an open air location or in a well-ventilated area where no build-up of carbon dioxide vapor can occur. Choose a spot that is not accessible to humans and animals or make sure that the ice is not accessible. Allow the dry ice to sublimate or evaporate to the atmosphere.

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