Posts tagged "disposable"

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 used paper plates?

Finishing up our impromptu barbecue themed week, I thought I’d run a post that is sure to get some people screaming “DON’T USE THEM AT ALL! USE REAL, REUSABLE PLATES!!” – and those people have a very good point. The first part of the 3Rs is Reduce and disposable paper plates are really unnecessary in most situations – and also usually really frustrating to eat off.

However, they’re still useful in some situations – for example, extraordinarily big outdoor parties, especially for clumsy kids or festivals etc – so it’s probably worth thinking about ways to reuse or recycle them for those times when they’re almost unavoidable.

Between food waste and the often synthetic wax/plastic coating used to make them moisture resistant, you don’t really want them near your compost heap. You can get paper plates designed to be composted afterwards though – some made from thick paper, some from palm fronds, others from a light bamboo – just scrape off any large amount of food waste that might cause a problem for your heap. On our post about waxed cups, someone said you can recycle them at tetrapak recycling facilities – I would if this is true of waxed paper plates too…

Any other suggestions/advice? Or ideas for alternatives?

How can I reuse or recycle used disposable Latex gloves?

Latex glovesA few weeks ago, we had to pick up John’s car from the garage after a service/MOT and while we were breathing in lungfuls of carbon monoxide waiting for the mechanic to finalise all the paperwork, I found myself staring at a big box of used disposable gloves near the counter. I don’t know how long the pile had been accumulating but there was a scary amount of them apparently just about to go in the bin.

Once I got back into the open air and my head stopped swimming from all the fumes, my first thought was “how could I recycle or reuse them?”.

I’ve only used latex gloves once – to provide grip when removing my now defunct tongue piercings – and I don’t think I’d have liked to have used dirty ones for that — but my tongue piercing fondling ones were clean after use and have been kept in the cleaning cupboard if we need them for any dirty jobs.

I guess there will be some overlap with rubber gloves – but the thinner Latex may restrict – or inspire – other uses.

So suggestions?

(Photo by Capgros)