Eco Tip: Don’t Trash Those Silica Packs — They Are Useful, After All

Marsha Low, Weavers Way Environment Committee

(Editor’s Note: This Eco Tip originally appeared in the October 2015 Shuttle.)

What should you do with those annoying little silica gel packets that come in everything from medicine and supplement bottles to boxes of new shoes and even inside new handbags? Since silica is a non-toxic substance that absorbs and holds water, these packets can be repurposed in many ways. 

For one, they can keep mold away from seeds that you’re saving. Put the seeds into a relatively airtight container along with a silica packet. Then store the containers in a dry, cool place. 

Other possible uses:

  • Speed up the flower-drying process by placing a bouquet into a plastic bag with some packets. 
  • Help prevent your silver jewelry or flatware from tarnishing (a process facilitated by humidity) by placing a few packets in your jewelry box or silverware drawer.
  • Help dry out a waterlogged cell phone. You have to move fast, though. Dry off the phone as best you can, remove the battery, then put the phone and battery into a plastic baggie with several silica packets. Seal the bag, and wait a day or two before turning on your phone.