How to dispose of used Silica gel?
We often get that question, and interpreting HMS data sheets is not always straight forward - so how should you dispose of used silica gel. We have spoken to Renovasjonen IKS and give you the facts!
Silica gel is not toxic and not harmful to the environment, but it will not break down and accumulate in water systems - it is therefore important that it is disposed of correctly. For the vast majority of our customers, silica gel is used and thrown away, and if you are going to dry large Boeing passenger planes, it quickly piles up with used, saturated, 1kg silica gel bags , as in the picture we have been sent by a customer. Then it might be good to know what to do with used silica gel.
We asked Renovasjonen IKS about how to dispose of silica gel, and the answer is very simple: "- This is residual waste plain and simple." This is also the case if the silica gel has ONLY been used to dry water (for example from humidity). If you have used chemicals to dry, they must be disposed of according to how the chemicals are classified!
It is also important to note that although it is considered residual waste in the Stavanger region, there may be other local regulations elsewhere in the country, so it is important to check with the local waste disposal companies how they will accept the silica gel.
In the data sheet it says that silica gel should be recycled, but how do you do that if it is considered residual waste? That's because silica gel can be regenerated and reused. To use silica gel again, you have to dry it to remove the moisture it has adsorbed - and you can do that by baking the bags in an oven at 120*ci for 1-2 hours. You will never be able to achieve as good an effect as new silica gel by drying it and if you have container after container of used silica gel, it is a project that may not pay off in the long run.
To summarize: Silica gel saturated with water can be regenerated or disposed of as waste (in the Stavanger region, always check local regulations). Silica gel saturated with chemicals is deposited as the chemical it has adsorbed.
If you want to read the HMS data sheet in its entirety, it is available on all silica gel products. Click here to go directly to the data sheet. We have posted all HSE and technical data sheets on all products in the online store, see under the tab data sheets on each individual product!