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How to ship with Dry Ice

Dry ice is often used as a shipping agent for perishable foods. If you're shipping perishables, you can pack them with dry ice to make sure they stay fresh on their trip. Shipping foods with dry ice comes with unique challenges. You must make sure you pack all items carefully. You must also deal with the paperwork and labels that go along with packages containing dry ice.

June 13, 2017

Part1Packing with Dry Ice

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1Purchase packages of dry ice. Before you can pack materials using dry ice, you'll have to purchase some. You can buy packages of dry ice at most butcher shops and grocery stores. Some UPS stores or FedEx stores may sell dry ice.[1]

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2Get the right quality material for packing. Once you've obtained dry ice, you need material to pack it safely. Dry ice releases carbon dioxide, which can be hazardous if released through the package rupturing. A rupture can be caused by pressure pushed down on a package during shipments. Therefore, the material you use should allows the release of some pressure.[2]You can use good quality fiberboard, also known as corrugated cardboard, which you can purchase online or at a local hardware store. You can also use plastic or wooden boxes to ship with dry ice.Do not use steel drums or jerrycans to ship dry ice.

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3Add a layer of Styrofoam to the box. It's a good idea to layer the box with Styrofoam. Some even advise mailing the box in a Styrofoam cooler, which you would then place inside another container. Make sure the Styrofoam you use is at least 2 inches thick in length.

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4Take precautions when handling dry ice. When packing your container with packages of dry ice, use gloves. Dry ice is very cold and cause serious burns if it comes into contact with bare skin.[3]

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5Pack the box. Wrap the food in plastic wrap or place in paper bags prior to packing. You want to make sure the food and dry ice are packed together tightly. Use newspaper or cellulose to make sure it's packed tight. This provides extra insulation, keeping your perishables fresh. If you're using a Styrofoam cooler, do not seal it completely as this can prevent the package from releasing pressure.[4]Packs of dry ice should be on the bottom, followed by food items. You should alternate between dry ice and food items, filling in excess gaps with bubble wrap and newspaper, until the box is full.[5]

Part2Dealing with Labels and Paperwork

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1Add the correct addresses. You will need to label the box for shipping. As with any other container, you will need to put your address as well as the address of the recipient. You can write this directly on the box, or get adhesive labels at a local post office where you can write the address and return address down.[6]

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2Mark the package correctly. Dry ice is considered hazardous material, so it needs to be marked properly prior to shipment. At the post office, make sure you ask that the following labels be attached to your box:[7]You will need a label that says "Dry Ice" or "Carbon Dioxide Solid."You will need a label that reads UN 1845, which also indicates the package contains hazardous materials.You will need a label indicating the net worth of dry ice in your container. Make sure you know how much dry ice you used during packing. Packages of dry ice will have their weight written on the label.

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3Get a Class 9 label. As dry ice is considered hazardous, it needs what is called a Class 9 label. This is a label, which you receive at the post office, that indicates the package contains dry ice.You can receive a label free of charge at most post offices. You can also call the FedEx company to have a label shipped to you for free by calling 1-800-463-3339.Make sure you put the Class 9 label on the same side of the package that contains the UN 1845 label.

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4Complete the required paperwork at a local post office. When shipping with dry ice, certain paperwork is required. You usually include basic information, like your name and address, and do not need to bring in any special materials to fill out paperwork. At the post office, you'll be presented with the proper forms.[8]You may have to fill out what is called a shipper's declaration. This is a slip that includes basic information about yourself and the recipient. You will also need to put in some numbers indicating what hazardous material you are shipping. The worker at the post office should be able to help you with the form.[9]

Part3Assuring Safe Delivery

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1Consider the shipping durations. When shipping with dry ice, you want to make sure the dry ice will preserve perishables for the proper amount of time. Overnight shipping is usually best, especially when shipping items like meat. However, if meat is vacuum packed, 2 day shipping may be sufficient. Unless you know temperatures outside will be below freezing, do not opt for anything over 2 day shipping.[10]

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2Add extra labels for international shipments. When it comes to international shipment, there will be additional labels to fill out. Be prepared to fill out such labels at the post office. For some international shipments, a passport may be required. Before purchasing dry ice to ship, call your post office and ask if the country you're shipping to has any regulations against dry ice.

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3Prepare for extra costs due to regulations. If you're planning on shipping with dry ice, be prepared for extra costs. As you'll likely have to pay for overnight or two day shipping, costs can get steep. You also may have to pay added fees for shipping hazardous materials. Call your local post office to ask for a price estimate to make sure shipping with dry ice is within your budget.[11]

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