Dry ice. Trick or treat?

Halloween has passed and aside from pumpkins and scary costumes, dry ice is quite common party staple. Besides being a magical element for parties, it's used as a cooling agent for various things. For example: to preserve food, to do the blast cleaning, to make dry ice bombs and to package items that must remain cold or frozen, such as ice cream or biological samples (when mechanical cooling is not an option).

In biotech you can see that dry ice is an everyday thing. Besides the environmental impact, it has quite an impact on finances as well. Here is a simple comparison of two options:

1. Dry-ice shipment

European company, who manufactures COVID-19 CE-IVD labelled diagnostic kits and sells them in domestic market but also ships to US and Mexico.

They planned on sending first a small amount to US – with huge box of dry ice shipped by the world´s leading logistics company. The quotation for shipping 4 kits with dry ice sufficient for 4 days delivery costs 300 EUR.

Then there are temperature-controlled shipments. That European kit-maker got a quotation from a special logistics company who offers full service (dry ice refill with temperature control) transport to the customer. Temperature-controlled shipment of 200 kits2800 EUR; similar quotation for a 1 kit - 2100 EUR.

For this customer, the problem is shipping small amounts to their customers. If they ship 50+ kits, then it makes sense to use temperature-controlled service, otherwise it is too expensive for their customer.

2. Ambient temperature shipment

Second example comes from us. Our entire product range is stable at room temperature for a month. That magic component there is genetic modification in our enzymes, called Stability TAG. We are using DHL Express Delivery service and shipping at ambient temperature (costs around 35-50 EUR globally) that is roughly:

  • 10x less than regular dry-ice shipments
  • 100x less than temperature-controlled dry-ice shipment
  • Pay for shipping the product, not to ship the ice!

There are many more aspects to consider regarding dry ice shipments. It is classified as a “miscellaneous” hazard for several reasons and not all logistics companies have the permission to ship dry ice. 

So, is dry ice trick or treat? It´s tricky product with its side effects but also a treat, as it helps to preserve and transport various items without need for mechanical cooling.

We are proud that we don´t need to calculate pros and cons of dry ice, as we chose the more sustainable path! If you want to know more about our Stability TAG technology, that enables us to use room-temperature shipping and storing, look here.