Posts tagged "business"

How can I reuse or recycle “disposable” hair nets?

We’ve had an email from Philip, asking about disposable hair nets:

I work in food production (ready meal factory) and have to wear a hair net whenever I’m on the floor. Some staff have proper hats but the rest of us have to have single use hair nets. Management say it’s cheaper but I think it’s very wasteful. Can they be recycled?

Whenever I get hold of one of them, I keep it to reuse at home – single use, schmingle use – when having a big baking or preserving session. (I’m less bothered about having a completely sterile environment and more about keeping my hair out of my face – and my food.) But if I was getting them every day, that wouldn’t really be an option – and they’re not the sort of thing you could pass on to others.

From what I’ve read, that type of hat is typically made out of polypropylene (older style nets are sometimes nylon) so the actually recycling options are very limited to non-existent. It seems like there many be a possibility of textile reclamation but all the information I can find out it is in the US so I’m not sure if there are any companies over here. As for reuses, they’re a bit like last week’s net curtains but not as strong so not suitable for all the ideas for them – and again, if you’re using them every day, they’re quickly going to mount up so no amount of crafts can solve the problem.

I think the key thing here really is to reduce: if it’s simply a matter of cost, you may want to consider buying your own hat so at least you’re not contributing to the problem – they’re not much and I suspect if you could get some other people involved you might be able to push the price down further by bulk buying (or at least sharing out delivery costs). However, from what I’ve read, there is sometimes an issue about not taking protective clothing outside of the sterile environment so it would be worth checking what arrangements (if any) are in place for handling the existing proper hats.

Anyone got any reuse ideas? Or any suggestions on how Philip can lobby his bosses into doing the right thing and getting reusable hats?

How can I reuse or recycle perspex display props?

We’ve had an email from Joe, who works for a fancy handbag designer with a number of select boutiques around the UK:

I am trying to find a way to recycle these display Perspex props. We used them in lots of our London stores and have loads of them. Sadly they are mostly all damaged so I don’t think anybody else would want them.

I really don’t want to throw them away and am trying to find out what to do with them.

It is possible to recycle perspex (aka plexiglas, lucite or acrylic glass) but it’s not widely done post-consumer — I can only find details of a scheme which aimed at collecting offcuts & waste from perspex manufacturers. (In case anyone is interested, it was the Amari Recycling Initiative – does anyone know any post-consumer collection?)

Even damaged, the raw material might be usable by makers/crafters. Local art schools (or just the the art/design&tech depts of normal schools), hacker/maker groups (such as hackspaces) or scrapstores would probably all welcome the donation – and depending on the area/amount, might even be able to do a collection. Or someone on Freecycle/Freegle might want them too.

Any other suggestions for recycling/reusing them en masse? Or individual projects for small pieces of perspex?

How can I reuse or recycle carpet/flooring samples?

We’ve had an email from Katy:

I work in a carpet store and we regularly get rid of big books of carpet and lino samples.My floor manager just throws them in the bin skip. Can they be recycled?

A lot of our reuses for carpet need it to be in large pieces, not just foot-square samples but some of the reuses for vinyl flooring/lino would work with smaller pieces – mats for under pet food bowls, wipe-clean cupboard/shelf lining or a patchwork of bright colours in a children’s play area/a semi-portable playmat.

Both can be recycled apparently too.

Any other suggestions?