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Water beads are a small, non-edible bead (roughly the size of blueberry) and are often used as a decorative addition to your home and for floral arrangement designs. There are also water beads marketed towards children (such as Orbeez), that are used for various arts and crafts.  They are made of a combination of water and water-absorbing polymer, and fill up and expand like a sponge when they don’t already come pre-soaked. Although water beads can be both entertaining and useful, how do you safely dispose of them when they’ve fulfilled their purpose? We’re going to look at 3 ways to safely dispose of water beads, so you can avoid causing a major plumbing or safety issue.

Shrink and Reuse Them

Finding a way to reuse or recycle a product is always the best solution, and should come before throwing any product in the garbage that could wind up in a landfill. In order to better store them, you can actually shrink your water beads back to their pre-filled size, and fill them up again when you can find them another purpose. gives us one option for reusing your water beads instead of throwing them out:


Add Them to Your Soil

Adding water beads to your plant soil is a fantastic way of reusing water beads once they’ve served their purpose! Although water beads are certainly not safe for consumption, they are biodegradable and contain the same polymer clay that is likely already in your soil.

Parenting Chaos tells us how they prefer to use this method for recycling their water beads:

“When we are done playing with water beads and aren’t going to store them, I crumble them up and add them to the soil of our potted plants. The polymer that is used in water beads is also used in a lot of bagged potting soil.”

Put Them in the Garbage

Putting your water beads in the garbage should be your last resort. However, seeing as they can’t be thrown in a recycling bin with the rest of your cardboard and tin cans, this is one of your only options. Due to the nature of these items, you may be tempted to flush them down the toilet or pour them down the drain, failing to realize that this 

Simon Books of tells us why you should never flush water beads or pour them down the train when disposing of them:

“However, since Orbeez can swell up to 150 times their original size when in water, throwing them down a sink or toilet is not a good idea. When Orbeez get in contact with water, they will swell up and cause possible clogging. Learning just how much plumbing problems Orbeez can cause from experience can be painful. Therefore, you need to be careful not to flush them down any drain in your house.”

We offer a wide variety of waste disposal options, with services readily available online. Reach out to us to see what we can offer you.

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