Shipping with Dry Ice: The Basics

Blocks of dry ice

Dry ice is the perfect way to send perishable foods to a loved one or customer – but shipping with it does require some special considerations and preparation if you want your precious cargo to arrive safe and fresh.

Here are some basics to shipping with dry ice:

  1. Purchase quality dry ice – Buy your dry ice from a reputable supplier (Irish Carbonic has all the dry ice you need, available for pickup at one of our convenient locations).
  2. Use quality packing materials – Quality corrugated cardboard, plastic, or wooden boxes will protect your shipment, and it will prevent the dry ice bags from rupturing (we have great packing materials, too).
  3. Add Styrofoam – Add a Styrofoam layer to your shipping box – an inexpensive cooler, for example, can be placed inside.
  4. Take precautions when handling dry ice – Always follow dry ice safe handling precautions!
  5. Pack the box – Wrap food in plastic or paper bags prior to packing. Pack the food and dry ice together tightly, using newspaper or cellulose to minimize gaps and provide insulation. Packs of dry ice should be on the bottom, followed by food items. Alternate between dry ice and food items, filling in gaps with bubble wrap and newspaper until the box is full. If you’re using a Styrofoam cooler, do not seal it completely as this can prevent the package from releasing pressure.
  6. Check your shipping address – This is always important, but particularly when you’re shipping perishable items.
  7. Mark the package correctly – Dry ice is considered hazardous material, so it needs to be marked properly prior to shipment. Ask for the following labels at your post office or from your courier:
    • A label that says “Dry Ice” or “Carbon Dioxide Solid.”
    • A label that reads UN 1845 (indicates hazardous materials).
    • A label that indicates the net worth of dry ice in your container (keep track of how much dry ice you use!)
    • A Class 9 label – This indicates that the package contains dry ice – they’re free at most post offices and from your courier. Put the Class 9 label on the same side of the package that contains the UN 1845 label.
  8. Complete all paperwork – Ask your post office or shipping professional for the proper paperwork, which could include a shipper’s declaration (a slip that includes basic information about yourself and the recipient).
  9. Other considerations – Dry ice lasts a maximum of about three days; overnight shipping is usually best, especially when shipping items like meat. However, if meat is vacuum packed, two day shipping may be enough. Do not choose options that take more than two days to ship. And be prepared for extra regulatory costs – Call your local post office or courier for details.

Irish Carbonic sells quantities of dry ice ranging from individual portions of dry ice rice pellets to massive 10,000-pound commercial deliveries in block form – available for pickup or convenient delivery to your location. Contact us to learn more – or stop by one of our convenient locations to get some today!

The Irish Family of Companies