Water beads are non-edible colorful tiny balls that are made by a combination of water, acrylic acid, sodium hydroxide, and a water-absorbent polymer. They are extremely relaxing, soft, and small, roughly the size of a blueberry.
The water beads are commonly used for art and crafts, decoration purposes in homes, to give floral arrangements exciting looks, and to make various games. Besides that, you can use these colorful water beads to improve the learning skills of your children.
They are environment-friendly and safe toys for young children. They normally come in tiny and dehydrated forms. When you put them in water, they absorb it and acquire the shape of marble, a slippery and soft marble. These multi-colored beads look incredibly wonderful.
However, when your kids grow older, the lifespan of these beads gets over or you want to get rid of some old floral pieces, you may wonder how to dispose of these tiny beads.
According to Disposeitwell there are plenty of ways that you can use to dispose of water beads as you can shrink them, throw them in the trash, bury them in your garden, etc.
In this article, I'll explain how to dispose of water beads. Furthermore, I’ll share how long you can use the water beads and whether they are environment-friendly or not.
What are water beads or orbeez?
Water beads or orbeez are tiny gel balls made by the combination of water, sodium hydroxide, water-absorbing polymer, acrylic acid, and colorful pigments.
These tiny beads increase their size and acquire the shape of marble when you put them in water for a few hours. You can buy orbeez in almost all sizes and colors.
They are non-toxic and completely safe to play. You can use these colorful balls to arrange different games for your children or you can use them for improving their learning skills. For instance, you can teach addition, subtraction, and multiplication to your child by using orbeez.
In addition, you can use these magnificent colorful balls for enhancing the look of your home interior and making it adorable. You can place these beads in floral arrangements to give them a colorful appearance.
How to prepare water beads?
To make the water beads grow, you need to put them in water for hours because when you buy them from the store, they are usually in tiny shape and dehydrated form. They need water and suitable environmental conditions to grow bigger.
To prepare water beads, all you have to do is;
Take a tub or a bucket.
Pour warm water into it.
Add water beads to the water.
Leave them for a few hours. (small beads will take 24 hours to grow whereas big beads will take 36 or more hours)
What do the water beads feel like?
Water beads are slippery colorful gel balls that are surprisingly relaxing and soft. These beads are non-sticky and bouncy. When you touch orbeez, they feel like squishy multi-colored marbles. Besides, they are great sensory materials.
The bright colors of these beads attract everyone, especially younger children. So, you can use these beads to sharpen their sensory skills and coordination.
However, it is not recommended to allow your toddlers and young children to play with water beads without your supervision.
Are water beads biodegradable?
Yes, water beads are biodegradable. As you know, water beads are made from a combination of water, biodegradable polymers, sodium hydroxide, and acrylic acid so they degrade easily in soil.
This is the main reason that gardeners use these beads to grow plants and to keep the soil around plants hydrated. Water beads are 100% safe for the environment.
So instead of throwing the water beads out, use them as fertilizer in your garden soil or in flower pots to plant new flowers or fruits. You can use these beads for creating some splendid flower decorations.
How long do they take to degrade?
The degradation period of water beads varies greatly depending on how you use them and where you place them.
If the beads are placed in light with good exposure to air, they will take only a few months to degrade whereas if you use them for decoration, their degradation will take 9-12 months.
Water beads used for planting flowers in the garden usually take years for their degradation. Complete degradation of these beads in soil takes 9-10 years normally because air and light could not reach them deep down.
How to dispose of water beads?
When your kids grow older or you want to get rid of old floral art pieces, you may find different ways to dispose of the water beads without impacting your environment.
To make this task easier for you, we are explaining some easy methods to dispose of water beads without harming nature in any way.
- Shrink and store for reuse
It is always a wise decision to keep the water beads for reuse because you never know where and how you need these colorful tiny balls.
Instead of throwing the water beads out, shrink them and store them for later use. It will save time and effort.
Shrinking of water beads is an extremely easy process. Shrinking is opposite to the expansion process of these beads.
To shrink the water beads, follow the steps written below;
Take a paper towel and place water beads on the towel in layers.
Place the towel in the area where sunlight directly reaches the beads.
Make sure the bead gets enough air and sunlight.
Leave the beads for a few hours until all the water is drained.
When the beads shrink properly, store them for later use.
Also, you can sprinkle some salt on the beads or you can use a dehumidifier to speed up the shrinking process.
While shrinking, exposing the water beads to sunlight for extended periods is not a great idea because it can break down the polymer present in these tiny balls. So make sure, you don’t leave them in direct sunlight for long.
- Add them to your garden soil
If you have decided to dispose of the water beads, adding them to your garden soil is indeed a fabulous option because these tiny beads hold moisture and keep the plants hydrated for long periods.
Due to their eco-friendly nature and being highly productive, you can use these tiny colorful water balls for planting new flowers and plants. They will maintain the water balance of the soil around the plants.
Take all the water beads and mix them well with the soil of your garden. You can add the beads in plant pots as well. It is better to add the crumbled beads to the soil because you can cover a large area in this way.
These beads will keep the soil moist, maintain the water balance of plants and prevent them from drying out too early. Normally, the water beads release water for 20-24 months in the soil before degrading completely.
One thing more that you should keep in mind is; do not to overwater your plants while the water beads are still in there because it can destroy their growth.
If you don’t want to reuse the water beads, throwing them in the trashcan is a simple and easy option.
Toss all the water beads in a biodegradable bag or container and put them in the trash can. You can also put these tiny beads in paper bags which will allow them to dehydrate and shrink automatically.
Make sure you seal the bags tightly so that the water beads don’t spill out and cause any accidents like people falling over.
What not to do with water beads?
While disposing of the water beads, avoid flushing them in the toilet or throwing them in the environment around you.
The reason is when you flush the water beads in the toilet or the sink of your kitchen, they run down and absorb water in the pipes. Their size grows bigger, causes blockage in the pipes, and leads to sewage problems.
Besides that, if you throw the water beads openly in the environment or any water body, small creatures are more likely to ingest them. This can cause their death because water beads are not safe for them.
How to store water beads?
If the water beads are small and dehydrated, you can store them in airtight containers, plastic bags, jars, etc. It will keep them safe for long periods without any risks of breaking down.
Whereas if you want to store the hydrated beads, shrink them first. Arrange the beads in layers on a paper towel and place them in the area where sunlight can reach them. Once they are done, put them in the container or jar and keep them for later use.
How long can you use water beads?
As you know, water beads are reusable. They can last for 6-7 months easily if you use them according to usage instructions. You can dehydrate and hydrate them whenever you want.
However, if the balls start smelling horrible or you see any sign of bacterial growth, dispose of them as early as possible.
While using water beads, it is recommended to wash your hands before touching them. It will extend their lifespan up to years.
Moreover, when your kids are done playing with the beads, pack them in a container or jar and place them somewhere your pets and kids could not reach them.
How to reuse water beads?
You can reuse the water beads after shrinking them and storing them in a container with low humidity. These beads will last for many years without breaking down.
To shrink or dehydrate the water beads, arrange them in layers on a paper towel and place them in sunlight. The sun's rays will absorb the water and decrease the size of these balls.
Make sure you don’t place the beads in direct sunlight for longer because it can break down the polymer.
Are water beads environment-friendly?
Yes, the water beads are absolutely environment-friendly because they are made 100% biodegradable.
When you throw these beads away or you add them to your garden soil, they do not pose any serious threat to your environment. Instead, they start decomposing slowly.
Are water beads made of plastic?
The straightforward answer is NO. Water beads are made by a combination of acrylic acid, water-absorbing polymer, sodium hydroxide, water, and some natural color pigments.
These tiny balls do not contain plastic in any way. The main ingredient in these squishy marbles is the water-absorbing gel that makes them 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly.
Even though, these beads decompose faster which is evidence that they do not contain plastic material.
Water beads are squishy slippery balls that are made by a combination of water-absorbing polymer and various natural color pigments.
These beads are used for several purposes like art and crafts, various floral decorations, playing, and many more. Besides, these bouncing balls are a great way to sharpen sensory skills.
However, when you are done with these water beads, you may find different ways to dispose of them. There are plenty of easy and simple methods to dispose of these beads without impacting your environment.
For instance, you can add them to the garden soil to keep it hydrated and productive. You can throw them in the trash can in a biodegradable bag or you can shrink them and keep them for future use.