How can I reuse or recycle silicone awareness bracelets?

awareness-braceletWe’ve had an email from Sally:

Hi. My eldest collected lots of those gel awareness bracelets when they were all the rage a few years ago but now she says she doesn’t want them any more… What can I do with them?

I imagine like other rubber-ish items (like rubber gloves), they could be used to provide extra grip on sometimes slippery or cold surfaces – like metal handles of shovels.

Is there enough give in them to be able to use them as very strong elastic bands?

Any other suggestions?

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18 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle silicone awareness bracelets?”

  1. Katie says:

    For the silicone bracelets, you might be able to flip them over and write the name of your child on it to identify their sippy cups (with a Sharpie).

    We have problems at our home identifying which of my daughters has what sippy cup.

  2. Alice says:

    Oh god, Oxfam sent me two of these free when they first started selling them, presumably having identified me as some kind of trend-setter among “green consumers”…?

    Definitely not going to support an NGO that sends me unrequested oil-based fashion statements in the post – take note anyone who ever donates to Oxfam!

    I went to the G8 protests in Edinburgh, handed out flyers on the “Make Poverty History” march about why it would be better to take part in direct action instead, and wore a home-made brown paper “Make Consumerism History” wrist band instead.

    Anyway, since I had them they ended up being used for all kinds of “strong elastic band” purposes, and were great at the anti-G8 camp in Stirling for replacing the loops on the bottom of tents that you stick the tent pegs into.

    Wrap them tight around things you need a good grippy handle on (hammers, axes, pitch forks etc).

    If you have small enough ankles they’ll keep your socks from slipping down inside your wellies.

    Tie up big lengths of electrical cable with them, like extension sockets with long leads.

    Use them to keep lids on boxes.

    I’ll probably add more here as I find these holding various other things together in my flat, they ended up being used to promote loads of different causes and I kept finding them in the street all over the place.

  3. carol says:

    I’ve used them to open jars

  4. cindi says:

    This link is a great tutorial on how to turn the bracelets into…well, bracelets. Fabric-covered, stylishly cute bracelets. I haven’t tried it yet, but am planning to.

  5. If you are using or reusing PET water bottles, you can put the bands around the bottles to identify your bottle(s).

    I have also used them at parties to ‘tag’ beer bottles. That way, there is less wastage because fewer half-drained bottles of beer will end up disposed of (Not that we dispose of beer — we use the leftover dregs as a snail/slug killer and the bottles are rinsed out with rainwater and then recycled).

    A friend of mine collected a number of unwanted silicone bands from her friends and students, and made a Christmas link chain with it, using thin thread or fishing line to tie the bands together. If she has enough, she would like to make a silicone band ‘bead curtain’ for her kitchen. I suppose it would also make a nice accent to a teenager’s bedroom.

    You can also clean out a sturdy steel can (soda cans are too soft) and file down the sharp edges, and then put the bands around the can, close together so as not to let the can show, and reuse the can as a chic pen holder.

  6. Nini says:

    i agree with all of the ideas for re-using, but how do we actually dispose of the silicone bracelets when they break? Are they recyclable or are they trash?

  7. Silicone Guy says:

    Silicone products such as wristbands can be recycled and depolymerized into raw materials to be remade into silicone based products.

  8. freddy says:

    How precisely? What machinery is needed? Cost and what can the “new” silicone be used a Third World environment?any suggestions? Thanks

  9. supergeeky says:

    I suppose once they break you can cut them up and use them for art. You can either cut them into strips or you can cut them into chunks or even cut tiny shapes out of them.

  10. Roncy Patel says:

    Buy key chain rings, hook the keychain ring in the silicon band and then use a plactic tie to tie the rings and make it a keychain, you can even put this on your hand if you dont have a pocket, so u dont loose your keys

  11. Kelly says:

    The idea of putting them around the can to make a pen holder gave me a very similar idea to wrap them around glass jars, it does make a nice pen holder, particularly sat next to the phone, with all the numbers for the causes on them (if you picked them up out of choice but don’t wear them anymore)

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  13. Valeria says:

    Those are useful for opening jars.

  14. Kit says:

    If you’re ever in a situation where you can’t laugh, but just about are, you can chew on them and it’ll help stop you from laughing. All those nights up as a kid have helped me learn this!

  15. Katie says:

    I’ve been scouting about for some of these to use as replacement cup bands on our Keep Cups.

  16. Adam Martin says:

    silicone wristbands are not recyclable in the sense that they are not biodegradable.

    • Jay says:

      Adam there is a difference between recyclable and biodegradable! Recyclable means it is possible to recycle something – either re-use without changing it (but that’s re-using really, not recycling), or breaking it down/melting it down/processing it in order to make something with the result. Biodegradable means that something will break down into its component parts in a natural process – any organism but ultimately micro-organisms. Sewage is biodegradable, and just as well!

      There’s a problem in labelling things biodegradable when often the final process of breaking down the material to its components does not or cannot happen, such as so-called biodegradable plastic. It disintegrates until it’s invisible (UV light has a part in this) but still remains as plastic, just microscopic plastic. Better for plastic to remain intact, or be melted down to make something else, than this reduction to invisibility.

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