Orbeez have been a popular kid’s toy for years.
You might even still have some lying around your house. But what should you do with them if they’re no longer used?
The obvious choice is throwing them in the bin, but if sent to landfill, they must biodegrade quickly to avoid causing harm to the environment.
So, do Orbeez biodegrade? Or do they remain in the environment for a long time?
Can Orbeez Biodegrade Quickly?
Orbeez are biodegradable by nature. They are designed to absorb water which means their chemical properties degrade over time.
This is demonstrated by the fact that many famers and gardeners use them in soil to help it retain water in times of drought.
So yes, Orbeez are biodegradable. This doesn’t mean they should be thrown away carelessly though.
There are many ways to dispose of Orbeez in an environmentally conscious way which we’ll explain in this article.
Are Orbeez Bad for the Environment?
Generally, no Orbeez are not bad for the environment.
Orbeez are entirely biodegradable and safe for use. They are non-toxic and they don’t contain any harmful chemicals that could harm the environment.
The main concern is these balls ending up in waterways such as rivers and lakes and even seas and oceans. There, they could be consumed by marine life which is likely to harm them, specially as they expand in size when in contact with water.
They will also last for a fair amount of time in this environment which means they can be considered a water pollutant.
So, although Orbeez are biodegradable, you need to dispose of them carefully.
Are Orbeez Environmentally Friendly?
Orbeez can be considered environmentally friendly to anywhere that isn’t near a watercourse or body of water.
They decompose and biodegrade quickly which makes them suitable as an eco-friendly toy.
As mentioned, you can even choose to use them in your garden to help keep your flower beds moist by retaining water.
Are Orbeez Made of Plastic?
No, Orbeez are made from a type of water-based polymer like hydrogel. They are water beads.
Although they look like they’re made from plastic, these polymers are far more eco-friendly.
Plastics take hundreds of years to be broken down into small enough pieces to be considered harmless to the environment. This is what makes this type of polymer better for the environment.
How Long Does It Take for Orbeez to Decompose?
Orbeez will usually biodegrade within 10 years.
Coming into contact with water will slow this process down so try and keep them as dry as possible to speed up their degradation.
How Do You Dispose of Orbeez?
The best way to dispose of Orbeez is to collect them in a waterproof bag than can be sealed. This bag can then be discarded with your regular trash.
Make sure that they are dry before discarding them to prevent them from expanding further.
How To NOT Dispose of Orbeez
There are some ways you should never dispose of Orbeez or water beads. Doing so will cause damage to the environment as well as possible damage to drainage systems.
1. Never Flush Them
Never flush Orbeez down the toilet or pour them down a drain.
They can cause blockages and may damage drain pipework when they expand.
Flushing them away may also cause them to end up in waterways and watercourses which will harm marine life like fish.
2. Don’t Discard Them Carelessly
Orbeez are small and can be easily lost. It is important to keep track of them so they don’t end up in places they shouldn’t.
Never throw them into the road outside your home.
They can become a trip hazard when wet and will also likely find their way into storm drains.
How to Reuse Orbeez
1. Put Them in Your Garden Plants
The best way to reuse or recycle Orbeez is by using them in your garden. Add them to flower beds and composted areas and you will find it easier to keep your garden hydrated.
This means your garden should require less watering in the summer.
Orbeez will absorb any excess water and act as a reservoir for your plants. When your plants need water, they will be able to extract it from the Orbeez in the soil.
As Orbeez eventually decompose, they pose no risk to your garden and can be used safely.
2. Use Them as an Ornament
Orbeez are decorative in appearance so consider reusing them as artwork.
You could fill a glass bowl with them and place it on a shelf in your home.
3. Donate Them
People donate used toys all the time so consider giving your Orbeez a new home by donating them to charity.
Orbeez are a great toy with a limited environmental impact.
They can be safely used around the home and can even be reused when you no longer have a need for them. And as long as they’re disposed of properly, they won’t harm our planet.