Is Slime Recyclable? (And Biodegradable?)

Slime is gooey and fun to play with. It’s also an easy and fun DIY project that you can use to demonstrate lessons on viscosity, chemical reactions, and polymers. Since slime also relieves stress, it’s little wonder people aren’t hesitating to hop on this trend.

But again, its significant participation rate can’t help but raise the question of how we dispose of this material after using it. It requires a reasonably challenging preparation that threatens to leave allergens in the environment.

In this blog post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about slime. Of course, we’ll also tell you if slime is recyclable. Finally, we’ll explore alternate methods of disposing of this gooey and fun material, so don’t go anywhere!

What is Slime and Where Does It Come From?

Slime is a squishy material that comes in different colors. Because of how it’s made, you can squeeze it infinitely. The Borate and water mixture it’s made from makes sure of that.

It’s classified as a thick liquid with variable viscosity. Squishing slime can be exciting and relaxing, which explains why this product is highly demanded.

It was initially made from guar gum, a powered product extracted from guar beans. This was in 1976, and slime left such an impression that many similar products were released shortly.

Can You Recycle Slime?

It appears that slime has many benefits for children and adults. For kids, it can help develop motor skills and other developmental abilities. Even for adults, this material has a calming effect and can be used to relieve stress.

As such, it’s little wonder many people are buying or making it at home. Inevitably, that means we burn through a significant amount of slime, so you should consider its impact on the environment. If we can recycle it, we’re mitigating its possible effects.

So, can you recycle slime? Well, you can, but it depends on your local recycling center. Often, they permit people to bring their old slime or what’s left of it.

In some cases, you’ll pay, but this service may also be for free. Either way, ensure you make proper inquiries at your local recycling center before taking it there.

Alternatively, you can keep reading to discover extraordinary ways to dispose of slime in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Is Slime Biodegradable?

Slime is not biodegradable. This is due to the addition of non-biodegradable products such as Borax. Unfortunately, Borax doesn’t biodegrade. Because of its chemical components, it won’t break down fast when you leave it to microorganisms, natural elements, and time. Besides, it’ll harm the environment if you don’t dispose of it properly.

If slime is biodegradable, its decomposition process will be fast and harmless to the environment. Microorganisms, moisture, heat, and the other materials required for biodegradation will break said material down quickly, often weeks to months.

Now, the biodegradability of an item depends on what it’s made from. For instance, it’ll break down fast if it’s made of wood.

On the other hand, slime is made from long-chain polymer molecules called polyvinyl alcohol. It’s used to produce this oozy, gooey substance; add water and mix until you get the right consistency. Throw in some Borax, and you’ll create your slime.

The materials used to make slime may seem harmless, but some aren’t. Polyvinyl alcohol is biodegradable under aerobic or anaerobic conditions. But we can’t say the same about Borax.

It’s called sodium tetraborate, a colorless crystal that dissolves in water. It serves as a thickener, giving slime its famous consistency.

Unfortunately, Borax doesn’t biodegrade. It has a high boron content, toxic to man and the ecosystem. Slime requires long years before decomposition occurs, but it can accumulate within that time. A buildup of this material can pose a severe danger to the environment.

If it sticks to a tree, decomposition may not happen until after a decade. It would be even more hazardous if slime finds its way into our water bodies, as its high boron content may contaminate them and kill aquatic creatures.

So, consider other waste disposal methods instead of leaving things to fate by throwing unwanted slime in the trash can and hoping it’ll decompose. We’ll list some of your options in subsequent sections.

Is Slime Bad For the Environment?

As an environmentalist, your major preoccupation is the result of your consumption on the environment. Of course, you’ll certainly wonder if slime is bad for the ecosystem, especially if you find yourself burning through a significant portion.

Well, slime is terrible for the environment if it has a high boron content. Pay attention to this – you can make your portion of this oozy material without including Borax, the material that pollutes the environment.

Typically, slime isn’t bad because of the environmentally friendly materials present in it. However, industrial slime often contains Borax, and this substance includes toxins that aren’t good for you or the environment.

But again, you shouldn’t worry about its effects on you or your kids unless it’s ingested. The toxic boron substance becomes activated when it’s been broken down, which is why playing with it won’t harm you, but the strong acids in your system will unleash its potency.

Now, when you leave slime in the environment, it won’t break down immediately. Typically, it may take about a decade before decomposition even occurs; and this is because of the Borax content.

Its chemical composition is dangerous for the ecosystem, starting with the soil. If pieces of slime find their way into our water bodies, they’ll undoubtedly do significant damage there. It would be even more unfortunate if an aquatic creature ingests it.

The effects of slime on the environment shouldn’t be overlooked, and we all have a role to play. For starters, you can buy less of this product, purchase only what you need, and use it for the longest time.

Alternatively, you can make your slime at home, sans non-biodegradable products. Don’t worry; we’ll show you how; just keep reading!

How to Make Biodegradable Slime?

You can make eco-friendly slime. Instead of abstaining from using this stress-relieving material, why not create your product from biodegradable materials?

We believe that more people will opt for eco-friendly slime with the proper knowledge. So, here’s a straightforward guide to making environmentally friendly slime:

Get your ingredients first. You’ll need one and a half cups of water, a tablespoon of corn starch, be a quarter cup of flaxseed. You can also prepare some biodegradable glitter, natural food coloring, and other creative additions you want to include.

Now, pour the water into a saucepan and add the cornstarch. Stir until it dissolves, then put the flaxseeds in the mixture. Leave it on minimum heat for sixty seconds, then take it down for five minutes.

Put it back on the burner, and repeat the process. Stir it gently now and then, simmer, and cool. When the flaxseeds appear thicker, this indicates your slime is almost ready.

When you achieve your desired consistency, pour the mixture into a glass jar, cover it, and store it in the refrigerator overnight. Here’s a quick one – you can add more cornstarch if your slime isn’t thick enough. Leaving it in the fridge for many days also helps.

Then, add your biodegradable glitters and all-natural food coloring. You can also include other textures you find appropriate. And just like that, you’ve made an environmentally sensitive batch of slime.

Is Slime Safe For Kids?

It’s no secret that slime can play a significant role in a child’s development. However, is it physically safe for kids?

Well, that’s a valid question. The answer is yes, and slime is safe for kids only if made from biodegradable materials. While Borax may not have the best effects on the environment, it’s not hazardous to a child’s health.

Playing with slime exposes your child to no harm.

But again, if there’s a risk of ingestion, we recommend keeping slime away from kids. If swallowed, it can cause diarrhea, irritation, vomiting, and some other mild symptoms. However, if there’s a large quantity in someone’s system, the effects can be fatal.

How Long Does Slime Last?

Well, it depends on who makes it. For instance, homemade slime lacks some components that lead to longevity. So, there are high chances that it’ll spoil faster than industrial slime.

If you store yours properly, it can last as long as a month before you need to make a new batch. Thankfully, the materials are biodegradable, so making more won’t harm the environment, and neither will disposing of the waste slime.

On the other hand, manufactured slime can last as long as four years after its production date. However, you must store it in its original packaging and keep it in a cool and dry place.

What Can You Play With Slime?

Beyond squishing this semi-liquid material, there are several other ways to play with slime. Some of your options include:

1. Form letters or numbers

This is a fun slime activity for children. They can form letters and numbers in it, but you’ll need to spread it out to create enough space. It’s a fun and educative idea; however, it’s not suitable for much younger kids because of the danger of ingestion.

2. A slime discovery bag

A slime discovery bag is a suitable way for younger children to play with this toy without the risk of a choking hazard. You can put some in a plastic bag; ensure there are low chances of tearing by doubling the bag.

When a young child plays with an item like this, it’s best if there’s adult supervision.

3. Make scented slime

­­­­Scented slime is an excellent way to appeal to the senses. You can choose calming scents like lavender and vanilla – add some to slime to create a relaxing effect.

Can You Put Slime in the Fridge?

If you don’t store homemade or industrial slime properly, mold can grow on it and destroy it. That’s why people resort to putting it in the fridge – this keeps microbial activity at bay.

So yes, you can put slime in the fridge. However, ensure you put it in an airtight container first; it can even be a Ziplock bag.

It’ll last a few weeks to months, after which you can throw it in the trash can. Since it’s biodegradable, this is an environmentally safe option. Look out for mold growth, the indicator that it’s time to dispose of this batch.

How Do You Dispose of Slime?

You can dispose of slime by:

1. Cutting it to pieces

If you’ve made some biodegradable slime, we recommend cutting it into smaller pieces before throwing it away with the rest of your household waste. It’ll break down fast when it gets to the landfills.

2. Recycle it

Alternatively, you can recycle unwanted slime. Contact your recycling center to inquire if this household waste is acceptable there.

3. Donate it

If you mass produce slime or always seem to have a huge supply, you can donate your excess. There are many charity organizations that’ll accept it.

4. Keep using it

The more you squish slime, the more it reduces in size. So, keep playing with it until its small enough for proper waste disposal.


Slime is unarguably becoming a household product, but is it safe for you and the environment? We believe you can answer this question now that you’ve completed this article.

We’ve explored safer options that allow you to enjoy the benefits of slime without necessarily harming your environment. So now, it’s time to make informed and eco-friendly choices.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.