How Much Plastic is in a Desiccant?

02 June 2021

Packaging comprises around 90% of a desiccant’s makeup, with the ingredient comprising the remaining 10%. It is therefore important to know what type of packaging material is being used as well as the environmental impact of that material. Let’s compare the packaging of three common desiccants - bentonite clay, silica gel, and calcium chloride:

  • Bentonite clay remains dry at all times even after it absorbs moisture so it can be packaged in plastic-free paper. Micro-Pak Dri Clay® Kraft is packaged in plastic-free and biodegradable FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified Kraft paper. Unfortunately, most suppliers still use plastic packaging to save cost and because they do not have the technical know-how to package in paper.
  • Silica gel also remains dry at all times but is most commonly packaged in plastic for the same reasons outlined above. Silica gels that are packaged in paper most often have a thin plastic-liner on the inside meaning that they are not actually plastic-free.
  • Calcium chloride turns into a corrosive liquid gel when it absorbs moisture. To prevent leakage, it has to be packaged in two layers of plastic; an inner plastic-pouch and an outer non-woven plastic layer. Calcium chloride sachets are also much larger than other desiccants meaning they use at least 4X more packaging material.

How Much Plastic Is Needed to Make 100-Million Sachets of Each Desiccant?

While individual desiccant sachets may be small in size, the cumulative quantity of plastic packaging material adds up very quickly. For example, we have calculated the amount of plastic needed to package 100 million 5-gram sachets of each desiccant:

It is clear that you can eliminate a significant amount of plastic at no extra cost by replacing silica gel and calcium chloride desiccants with plastic-free desiccants such as Micro-Pak Dri Clay® Kraft.

For an in-depth sustainability comparison of desiccants, please read our article on the Environmental Impact of Silica Gel, Calcium Chloride and Bentonite Clay Desiccants

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