are orbeez biodegradable

Are orbeez Biodegradable?

Orbeez beads have gained popularity as a sensory play toy among children and adults. They are also used as a decorative element. They are made of a water-absorbent material called polymer, which grows in size when soaked in water. They are used as bullets in orbeez guns.

The answer to the question” Are Orbeez Biodegradable?” is YES; the orbeez are biodegradable, but decomposing takes a long time. Biodegradable substances are the substance or material that breaks down and decomposes in the natural environment.

What are orbeez?

Before talking about are orbeez biodegradable, let’s discuss orbeez. Orbeez are small, colorful, soft, and squishy materials. They are also called water beads, jelly beads, and hydrogel beads. Water beads are used in decoration or for sensory play. The quality of absorbing and retaining water makes these very unique. These are also used in orbeez guns for recreational and enjoyable play.

are orbeez biodegradable
are orbeez biodegradable


The orbeez are made of super absorbent material called polymer. The polymer contains sodium polyacrylate( most commonly composed of acrylic acid and sodium hydroxide). The polymer can absorb water and allow the orbeez to grow in size when soaked in liquids.

Size and Sensory Appeal

In the start, the orbeez are hard and dry beads; their size is very small. When immersed in water, they absorb water and grow in size many times. After absorbing water, they become colorful, soft, and squishy. Touching or squeezing orbeez stimulates the senses and facilitates a relaxing experience.

What are the environmental Impacts of Orbeez?

Orbeez have many environmental impacts because they take a long time to decompose. They also pose health risks for animals that live in water. However, their environmental impacts can be measured by how they are disposed of. 

Ocean Pollution

When orbeez are disposed of improperly in water, like sea, rivers, lakes, and oceans, they can be ingested by animals, resulting in health problems and affecting aquatic life. Their degradation period is very long and causes plastic pollution in water.

Contamination with soil

Orbeez takes years to decompose and break down completely. Their contamination in soil can affect the fertility and quality of the soil. They also result in health problems for land animals if they are eaten and ingested. Hence, they must be disposed of properly.

Waste and Microplastic Generation

With time, the orbeez break down and decompose in fragments due to exposure to sunlight and other environmental effects. These small plastic fragments cause waste generation and pose a risk for marine animals when ingested.

Impact on the Natural Environment

Orbeez also affects the natural environment of the place where they are disposed of improperly. They may cause risk to wildlife and affect the look and scenery of natural beauty. They negatively affect the fertility of soil and land

Effective ways to Dispose of Orbeez

Orbeez are used as a toy or for decoration, but due to long degradation periods, they have many effects on the natural environment, especially when they are disposed of improperly.

Recycling and reusing of orbeez

To minimize the environmental impact of orbeez, recycling, and reusing are the best ways to dispose of them. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the reusing and recycling process of Orbeez. Some companies are collecting and working for the purpose of reusing and recycling.

Look for local laws and regulations

Always be aware of local waste disposal laws and regulations. Some cities and areas have particular laws regarding disposing of certain types of waste. For compliance with laws of regulation, it is good practice.

Educate children by disposing of orbeez

Orbeez are toys used by children when they are playing with orbeez guns. Teach them to dispose of orbeez responsibly. Educate them about the risks posed by non-biodegradable materials to the environment.

Dispose of Orbeez in landfill

To reduce the risk of environmental contamination and negative impacts, throwing orbeez in landfills is better than disposing of them improperly. Landfills are special places for handling non-biodegradable wastes. Trashing the orbeez in separate areas will reduce environmental pollution.

Dry the Orbeez Out

To prevent orbeez from sticking to the surfaces and handling them easily, dry them out completely. An easy method to dry the orbeez is keeping them on the surface open to air. Air will dry them out completely.


To keep aquatic life safe, always use mesh or filter when disposing of orbeez. It will prevent the fragments of orbeez from entering water bodies and causing pollution.

Factors Affecting the degradation of Orbeez

The decomposition of orbeez, which is made of super water-absorbent material called polymers, is affected by several factors. The breakdown of sodium polyacrylate, a synthetic polymer, differs from other natural substances. Here are important factors that affect the breakdown of orbeez.

Environmental conditions

The breakdown of orbeez is affected more by the environment where they are placed. Environmental factors, like temperature, direct sunlight, and humidity, will influence the degradation of orbeez. Exposure to direct sunlight, high temperature, and more humidity will accelerate the breakdown of orbeez.

Age and Composition of the Orbeez

Age and composition are important factors for the breakdown of orbeez. The older orbeez are more likely to decompose quickly than new orbeez because they are exposed for a longer time to the environment. Orbeez products have different variations, which also influence the breakdown process.

Physical conditions

Some physical conditions accelerate the breakdown process of orbeez, like stirring, squeezing, and crushing. When physical forces are applied to them, they split into small pieces, which allow the water molecule to penetrate and accelerate the breakdown process.

Water affects

Orbeez absorbs water and swells significantly. The presence of water plays an important role in the decomposition of orbeez. When they absorb water, it makes the polymer chains weaken within orbeez, and it causes them to break apart quickly.

Microorganism Activity

Orbeez are made of polymer, which is a synthetic material. Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi affect the breakdown of orbeez, especially if they are in contact with organic substances.

Size and Shape

Smaller orbeez have more surface area as compared to the larger orbeez. Hence, smaller orbeez will degrade quickly. The shape of orbeez also has a small impact on their breakdown. A uniform shape may take longer time than an irregularly shaped orbeez.


The degradation period of orbeez depends on several factors, like temperature, Direct sunlight, Humidity, water, composition, physical condition, and age of the orbeez. They can take 2-3 or even 10 years to decompose, depending on the above factors.

Orbeez are reusable products, and you can play with them several times. When they are dry out, place them in a bowl,  add water, and leave them for some to rehydrate. When they rehydrate, you can use them again.

The orbeez are water-absorbent substances; they grow in size when soaked in water. If they are swollen accidentally, they will grow in size due to the water present in our bodies. But as per manufacturer instructions, orbeez can grow up to 7-8mm in size, which can easily pass through the digestive tract.  


The final words of the topic “Are Orbeez Biodegradable” are they are biodegradable, but they take a longer time to decompose. Their breakdown process depends on many factors like environmental conditions, water presence, physical forces, and microorganism activity. Orbeez can take 2-3 and even decades to decompose.

Improper disposing of orbeez has several environmental impacts, including ocean pollution, soil contamination, waste generation, and harm to the natural environment. The proper ways of disposing of orbeez are reusing and recycling, trashing them in landfills, drying them out, and educating children about responsible disposal of orbeez.

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