Even with all of the conveniences modern shipping provides, shipping perishables can prove difficult, which is why dry ice is used by many shipping companies, including USPS.
Since dry ice is already used in shipping, can you ship it by itself through USPS- and how does that work?
USPS Dry Ice Shipping In 2023
USPS does allow for dry ice to be shipped as of 2023. However, only less than 5 lbs can be shipped by Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and First Class package shipping as 5 lbs or less of dry ice is safe for planes. If you need to ship more than 5 lbs of dry ice, you have to use ground shipping. Shipping dry ice with USPS costs $1-$3 per pound.
Dry ice alone is a rather hazardous substance, which means shipping it poses a lot of interesting circumstances- be sure to keep reading to find out more!
Can You Ship Dry Ice Through USPS?
USPS does allow for dry ice to be shipped, either alone or as a way of keeping perishable items cold.
Because dry ice is a hazardous substance, only certain amounts of dry ice are permissible on planes.
If you are shipping 5 lbs or less of dry ice, you can use services like Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, or First Class package shipping.
If you are shipping more than 5 lbs of dry ice, you have to use Parcel Select Ground or USPS Retail Ground shipping.
This is because dry ice in excess of 5 lbs is affected by the lower air densities in higher elevations and can react poorly when flown at a certain height or for a certain amount of time.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship Dry Ice With USPS?
Typically, shipping dry ice through USPS incurs an additional charge of around $1-$3 per pound, as it is listed as a hazardous material.
This can get rather expensive, especially if you’re shipping other items with the dry ice like perishables.
If you’re looking to cut down on the costs of shipping dry ice, you can buy discounted postage through third-party sites by using an online shipping software.
How Do You Ship Dry Ice With USPS?
Since dry ice is a hazardous material, there are more regulations for the way that you ship dry ice.
First and foremost, you need to choose the right container.
The best container to ship dry ice in is a polystyrene container at least 2 inches thick with an absorbent liner, so your package doesn’t leak.
If you’re shipping dry ice with other items, be sure that the dry ice doesn’t touch anything other than the box- if it does, it can damage your other items.
The polystyrene container should help keep all of the condensation and moisture contained, but it is important to NEVER make this container air-tight.
If your container is air-tight, the pressure released from the dry ice can build up and cause your package to explode.
That being said, it is important to make sure your package is securely sealed to prevent leaks, but ensure that air is able to escape the package so that the carbon dioxide doesn’t build up and cause an accident.
Once you’ve packaged your dry ice, you then have to add a few more steps to meet the shipping requirements from USPS.
Clearly label your shipment “dry ice” or “carbon dioxide solid” and add any contents of the package that aren’t dry ice.
You must also include a UN 1845 label, as well as the net weight of dry ice in kilograms (a kilogram is about 2.205 lbs).
For quantities of dry ice over 5 lbs, clearly label your package “surface mail only”.
Following all of these steps will help ensure your package is handled safely by postal workers and that it will arrive to the correct destination without being held up or returned for safety reasons.
Once all of these steps are followed, you can drop off your package at your local post office to be shipped.
If you’re using an online shipping software service, there are features offered that include a contactless package pick-up, so you can also arrange for your package to be picked up from your home to save you the trip to the post office.
How Long Is Dry Ice Good When Shipped?
If you’re planning on using Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, or First Class package shipping, you can only ship 5 lbs or less of dry ice.
If you’re shipping about 5 lbs of dry ice, the dry ice should last for 12-24 hours in a properly insulated package.
If you need the dry ice to last 2-3 days, you will need somewhere between 20-25 lbs of dry ice.
Remember, if you’re shipping any quantity of dry ice in excess of 5 lbs, you must use ground shipping USPS services.
Can You Ship Dry Ice Internationally?
Since dry ice is labeled as a hazardous material, USPS does not allow for it to be shipped internationally.
Because only quantities of dry ice less than 5 lbs can be flown, this also creates limitations on the distance dry ice can travel.
To know more about USPS, you can also check our posts on whether or not USPS delivers to door, if you can mail alcohol at USPS, and the USPS parcel select.
USPS does ship dry ice, and it can be shipped via Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, First Class package shipping if it’s less than 5 lbs, or USPS Ground Shipping if it’s more than 5 lbs.
Shipping dry ice usually comes with an additional cost of around $1-$3 per pound.
There are special requirements when shipping dry ice, including the container it can be shipped in and the labels on the package.