Are Orbeez Biodegradable? | How to Dispose of Them

Orbeez are fun plastic toys shaped like tiny beads and expand when mixed with water. They are very colorful and a lot of fun to play with, and kids have been enjoying them for a long time.

Orbeez are a brand of water beads that both kids and adults can enjoy, and while some of them are clear in color, the Orbeez brand is available in lots of fun colors.

Orbeez are made of plastic, you might think they are recyclable, but unfortunately they are not. Orbeez are biodegradable and can therefore be will break down, although they take time to completely biodegrade. Orbeez beads will last two to three years or even longer before they biodegrade. In fact, it can take up to a decade for them to biodegrade, but they do eventually do so.

According to the company that makes Orbeez, these colorful beads aren’t “biodegradable” in the strictest sense simply because it takes so long for them to biodegrade. Nevertheless, you can count on them completely biodegrading in 7 to 10 years in most cases.

These beads are non-toxic but keep in mind that if you do use them for play or to “water” your lawn, they will likely be around for a long time!

What Are Water Beads?

Water beads are made out of super-absorbent polymers that are hydrophilic, which means they love taking in water. When exposed to water, water beads can expand up to 10 times their size. Wet colorful beads are a lot of fun to play with, so there’s little wonder why they are so popular.

You can use Orbeez for art projects or add them to jars for a cool art piece. Placing them in water and playing with them with your hands can be a very relaxing experience.

For more on how Orbeez work, check out this video.

This article we will explore about Orbeez, if they are biodegradable, what to do with them after you have finished with them to avoid them ending up in landfill.

Will Orbeez Eventually Biodegrade?

Orbeez are biodegradable, but how long they take to break down depends on whether the beads are exposed to the right conditions. More exposure to oxygen, light, soil bacteria and moisture will help them to break down faster.

These conditions are not often found in landfill and therefore their breakdown can take longer.

Originally, water beads were used to help agricultural soil retain water. The beads were placed into the fields and water would soak into them, then later the water was slowly dispersed as needed by the soil.

This allowed the crops to siphon water for long periods of time and would keep the fields well hydrated. These tiny miracle-working water beads saved time, money, and resources for farmers, helping them to save water and keep their crops growing well.

How to Dispose of Orbeez

Orbeez can be used in garden soil or thrown in the trash. They are polymer beads made of acrylic acid, sodium hydroxide and water so can last for years in your soil.

Orbeez can also be thrown in the trash which will head to landfill. The process of them breaking down is going to be slowed down significantly but they will eventually biodegrade.

This is why so many people choose instead to reuse Orbeez, which you can do by:

  • Using them in LED lamp lights
  • Using them as an air freshener
  • Using them as an art project

There are endless ways to reuse Orbeez water beads, so all you have to do is use your imagination to come up with some interesting things to do with them.

Avoid flushing them down the toilet or put them down the drain. Orbeez will clog up your pipes and cause damage. You’ll also want to avoid placing Orbeez in your compost bin because they will remain there for a very long time.

A Few Other Things to Remember about Orbeez

Orbeez are not harmful if accidentally eaten, but keep in mind that they can be a choking hazard for small children and still should not be eaten on purpose or in large quantities. Consuming large amounts of Orbeez might result in blockages or even severe injury to the digestive system.


Orbeez water beads are a fun toy and a very popular one as well. While they are not recyclable or compostable, they are indeed biodegradable and reusable, even though they usually take a very long time to biodegrade. Even if you just place them outside to help keep your garden well-hydrated, they can take up to 10 years to biodegrade completely. Putting them in the landfill usually means they’ll take much longer.

Orbeez water beads are so popular they are not going to go away anytime soon, but now you know that they will eventually break down and there is something you can do with them besides throwing them in the landfill.