How can I reuse or recycle out of date bandages?

BandageWe’ve had an email from Helen:

Hi, I cleared out my work’s first aid kit this morning and found all the bandages are out of date (no longer guaranteed sterile). We’re replacing them for safety reasons but I wondered what we could do with the old ones since they’re still in their packages just no longer sterile.

If it was at home, I’d be tempted to keep them around for times when sterility isn’t an issue (for example, just providing support to a sprain or something) but I can understand in the workplace, where numerous people might be using the kit, that might cause confusion and problems later on.

I remember using a number of different shaped bandages when I did my first aider training – I wonder if there are any groups that could use them for that purpose (am I right in thinking Scouts/Guides do some basic first aid training? Could they use them?).

As for a sillier idea, someone could use them to make an awesome mummy costume next Halloween.

Any other suggestions? Is re-sterilising them a possibility (at an industrial level if not a household one)?

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8 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle out of date bandages?”

  1. Nicole says:

    Depending on the thickness, could be knit into a towel or something.

  2. Dave says:

    Use them for sculpture work, with plaster of paris.

    Once you have made an armature or wire or wood or both and have bulked it out with scrunched up newspaper, the bandages dipped in plaster of paris can be wound round and round and smoothed out to make an outer layer. they when dry paint it.

  3. Dianne Guy says:

    A lot of chemists have a collection of things like this and they are sent to 3rd world countries, I know they can re-seralise them, ask your chemists about the program.

  4. Andy says:

    Aid to Hospitals Worldwide collect all sorts of medical equipment that is no longer required in this country and ship it overseas to develping countries. They will almost certainkly have a use for these bandages. Contact them at

  5. Donate them to animal shelters. I volunteer with one, and we use them for cleaning wounds, eyes and ears. Cotton buds are not safe for use with very young animals because we might not be able to estimate how close the eardrums are to the surface, so we saturate pieces of bandage with ear mite solution and wipe the insides of their ears clean. Cotton wool doesn’t have the same gently-abrasive cleaning effect, and leave fluffy bits inside their ears. Bandage pieces are best for this.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Use them to tie up blankets stored away.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Keep them in a car for emergencies on a road.

  8. Jessie says:

    As a kid, I loved playing with dad’s old bandages. (He had a lot of operations when I was younger, and as a result, loads of bandages!) My sister and I would constantly walk around in bandages at home (even when we weren’t breaking anything!)

    It’s a fun toy. Kids love to play doctor!

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