Send your question to Umbra!

Q. Dear Umbra,

Do you have any advice on disposal/recycling of those gel packs that come with our pills/vitamins/shoes/protein powders/etc? Surely just throwing them away cannot be safe (wildlife consumption is my biggest worry) — is there anything you can recommend? Also, I feel like I am wasting those cotton balls that come in vitamin and pill bottles, too. I surely couldn’t reuse them as cotton balls, could I?

La Verne, Calif.

Photo by jojomelons.

A. Dearest Casie,

While I admire your instincts and commitment, I wish I could invent a Take-a-Deep-Breath-It’ll-Be-Okay vitamin, mass produce it today, and mail you a case. I can think of a few others who might benefit from this miracle pill, too. I would not, of course, include silica gel or wads of cotton in said packages.