It is almost impossible to buy hair ties without any kind of plastic! Be it a plastic wrapper, a cable tie, or because the hair ties are wrapped around a sheet of plastic.
Of course hair ties themselves are not very eco-friendly. They are usually made from a mix of synthetic materials and not recyclable.
Here are my tips on how to make the more sustainable choice when it comes to something so small and mundane, yet so omnipresent as hair ties.
1. Use Other Methods to Put Your Hair Up
There are many many alternatives to tying your hair up with a hair tie or to just keep it out of your face: ribbons, hair bands, bandanas, bobby pins, hair clips, heck, even chopsticks and pencils!
Here are nine more alternatives.
2. Make Sure to Not Lose Your Hair Ties
We usually pay only very little attention to our small, inexpensive belongings, because we feel that they are easily replaceable. However, that is not very eco-friendly, because we all do that and all those little things we lose on the street pile up on the landfills!
Only have one or two hair ties out that you actually use and only move to a new one when the ones you were using rip. Having fewer items will actually help you have them handy when you need them!
3. Reuse the 💩 Out Of Your Hair Ties!
This one should go without saying: only buy new stuff when you absolutely have to. You can prolong your hair ties by using them less and going for the other methods mentioned above more often.
However, hair ties are not made to last. So they will rip eventually.
When they do, just tie the ends together and use them to organize your chords.
4. Just Pick Up Hair Ties on the Street
Yup, you heard right! And yup, that's what we do. We do not buy hair ties; we just pick them up on the street. People lose hair ties all the time, so all you have to do is claim them.
It was actually fellow zero waster and Instagrammer Anita (@rocket_science) who shared her practice on Insta! (Unfortunately, I was unable to find that post to embed it here because I just do not remember when it was that she posted it...)
Since then, Hanno (my partner in crime) has been picking up hair ties on the street every other day! We wash them and they are good to go!
We only moved to Vancouver five months ago, and we have already accumulated 46, yes fourty-six hair ties!
5. Buy More Eco-Friendly Hair Ties
Even though I think it is essential to use up what is already there and would be wasted otherwise, I also believe we need to vote with our money in order to change the system for the better.
The only ethically produced, plastic-free, compostable, and organic hair tie I could find were these from Kooshoo. They are made from organic cotton and natural rubber in the USA—Downtown LA to be precise.
I just discovered them when I was doing a bit of research for this article, so if any of you have tried those hair ties, please leave a comment down below, letting me know if the hair ties are worth the $15 (US) for five hair ties (plus shipping)... They also have a list of distributors that you can check out here. There are actually two shops selling these hair ties in my area (Vancouver, BC), so I might give them a try.
However, if you live in a country without a distributor or just somewhere in the US that is not California, New York, or Montana, these might not be an option for you, seeing that the use you get out of them might not justify the additional packaging for shipping plus the transportation emissions. So good thing you can just pick up hair ties on the go, right?
I use elastic from old socks and recycle wide elastics from clothes (I just cut them and tie to create something like this https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d7/7d/84/d77d8443b6e0c61d2bc73974f3bcc141--tie-dye-hair-dyed-hair.jpg )
OMG, I LOVE that!!! What a great idea
How timely! My hair is just starting to grow out for the first time since going zero waste!
Haha, perfect timing!
Hey Shia! I live in Canada and did try out the Kooshoo, sadly they did not live up to my expectations. The last elastic I found lasted me one year and sadly the one I am using now that I bought from them is already degrading after a couple of months. Once I've used all five of them I think it'll be back to elastics from the street for me 😉
Thanks so much for sharing, Ariane ❤️! That is good to know! I might still give them a try, since I can just buy them here in Vancouver without having to order them online and thought they might look good as wristbands? We'll see, we'll see LOL
Thank you for sharing!
Ich benutze alles was sich findet und ein schlinge ergibt.
Baumwollbänder zB . Sie Leitern zwar aus, abe ich passe ihn an, indem ich den Knoten versetze. Abends einmal nass machen und er zieht sich wieder zusammen.
Und wenn er ab und an mal rutscht, eine Haarklemme die im Zopf verschwindet.
Sorry, sehr oft vertippt bzw Autokorrektur mal wieder:
Und Schlinge natürlich groß 🙂
Sehr coole Methode!!!
Hey. Thats true. Please have a look at kaami organic on instagram We developed hair ties that are compostable. 100% plastic free.
Best regards, britta
Sam Tucker says
I've recently discovered silicon hair ties. They seem to keep their stretch A LOT better than the normal elastic kind and don't have the core of elastic you mention. I'm sure they snap eventually, but haven't had it happen yet. I'm not sure where they sit on the sustainability scale, but I've used the same one for a couple months now! I believe they can be manufactured from sand... so they're around the same place as glass in a way.
Thanks for the ideas! I wear out bobbles so quickly, I was looking for a more eco friendly version but thanks to this article and the great video you linked I've ordered a hairstick instead. I hope I get on with it. It doesn't look too hard and it's better than wearing out bobbles and won't have that annoying stage where they're too good to throw away but too loose to work properly. I'll be glad to avoid the packaging waste too.
Cutting the legs of an old or ripped pair of panty hose into rings makes tons of upcycled, ouchless hair ties that last and last!
Emma D says
I've tried this idea- it works really well and good re-use of old tights- https://gippslandunwrapped.com/tag/hair-ties/
Just found these too! https://www.etsy.com/shop/HuttysHairTies
Oh my gosh, it's so funny to know I'm not alone in picking up "ponytails" off the street LOL xD
Claire Ensor says
I'm an elementary school teacher. I don't make much money and I spend too much on my classroom, but I'm ROLLING in abandoned ponytail elastics.
Jessica Schnell says
Will definitely collect used hair ties when I go back to work teaching!