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?