The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

June 30, 2017

Introducing Organic, Plastic-Free Hair Ties

Two years ago, I posted this photo on Facebook with the caption:

People ask me what I do for hair elastics since they are plastic.  The truth is, I’ve never had to buy them because there are a gazillion on the ground every day.  Parking lots, sidewalks, the floor of the gym… How do they get there?  And is reusing discarded hair elastics gross or thrifty?  Would you do it?

Facebook post - I pick up other people's discarded hair elastics off the ground and use them for myself. Would you do that?

So, um, yeah.  I pick up crap off the ground and put it in my hair.  For the rest of you, please check out KOOSHOO certified organic hair accessories.  Their hair elastics are made from organic cotton and natural rubber, not plastic!

KOOSHOO sent me a pack of five hair elastics to try out.  Ironically, I had just gotten my hair cut before trying them, so I did the best I could.  They work great, and because they are covered in cotton, the natural rubber elastic does not pull your hair.

You can order KOOSHOO plastic-free hair ties from my friends Jay and Chantal at Life Without Plastic.

When I asked Chantal about KOOSHOO, she replied, “Yes! Rachel and her husband started the company a few years ago. They are SUPER nice. I met them last September at a ‘social business’ conference near Vancouver.  They really are the real thing.”

I have four hair ties left that have not touched my head.  If you would like to try one, leave a comment below answering the question I asked in my Facebook post at the top of this page. I’ll choose 4 winners by the end of next week.

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4 years ago

Here’s another option;

Amanda M
5 years ago

Oh, and I was also wondering, how do you responsibly dispose of those KOOSHOO hair ties when they eventually wear out or break? Burn them? Cut them into small pieces and bury them in the garden?


Amanda M
5 years ago

Hello!! Great content, thank you!! I am wondering if you have looked into silicone hair ties at all? Are they eco friendly? I know the koffie straw is silicone and you just burn it if it ever can’t be used anymore, would the same apply to silicone hair ties?

Thanks so much for such an informative blog!! I’ve been reading article after article on your website!

Kathy Gwen Magruder Miller
5 years ago

Yes, I reuse found hair ties. I have still picked up a few which have lost their use so that I can trash them. Not only do I reuse them, but I use them in my upcycled arts and crafts, which I proudly advertise as such. I throw the in the wash and they are good as new. By the way, I’m using lots of your ideas in the Earth Day event I am leading this Saturday in Branson. Thanks for all the work you do and the ideas you give to make it easier for others to simply make the change and not have to reinvent the wheel. When change is made easier, it is an easier sell to our guests at our events. You have been a blessing. Kathy

Tracey Thomas-Falconar
6 years ago

I too get all my supply of hair ties and the occasional scrunchie off the ground. Then I hook them onto the carbener on my waist pouch. Double thrifty or double gross?

6 years ago

Before I went zero waste I was just a thrift college student and I would pick up hair ties off the ground too! I wash them with my laundry first though. So I think it’s thrifty. They last a while with me. But I only have two in stock now so I would love to try one of these eco friendly ones and see how they work. Maybe I’ll spend some money.

6 years ago

I also pick up hair ties from the ground!!!! Another alternative is usign old socks: you cut them and the result is awesome.

6 years ago

I would love to give this product a try! So unfortunate yet hopeful that there is at least ONE company out there thinking of tackling every bit of plastic!

sally frandsen
6 years ago

Love the idea of plastic free alternatives! I too have picked up ties off the ground as they are everywhere and my dreads are often in need of containment. Normalizing reuse is the first step! Nice work per usual!

Sabrina Radke
6 years ago

These look awesome! I’ve honestly never seen a hair the on the ground but I’d say wash on HOT and use it! I’m thrifty baby!!

Valerie Connors
6 years ago

Thrifty; I would not pick one off the ground and use it.

These look great! Would love to have o e to try. Didn’t think about these being plastic! Thanks so much for the info!

6 years ago

These look interesting, but the tag is soooo large.

6 years ago

To me it is both gross and thrifty. I take home hair bands and clothing I find on the ground. I wash it and donate it.

6 years ago

This is awesome!!!!! For so long I’ve struggled with what to do. Tried cotton ribbons and all sorts of other things. Have never Even thought to pick anything off the ground!

6 years ago

I would but haven’t. I would love to try these.

Katie T.
6 years ago

I haven’t had to buy new hair ties since starting my plastic free journey. I use the same ones over and over. I’m down to one in rotation now. I was thinking I might have to get some new ones…. but it didn’t even dawn on me that they might be plastic! I appreciate this new information:) I live in a more rural area so the “ground offerings” may be less frequent here lol! I’ve never noticed any…. I’m not sure if I could bring myself to pick one up and wear it…. but I will keep my eye out and let you know if I can bring myself to do it!

6 years ago

I would not use a hair tie found on the ground. I would not if I found it laying around.

I live in NYC (which may also explain my lack of enthusiasm for found scrunchies) and was just looking at these hair ties this afternoon at Package Free. I decided that my purchase of reuseable utensils, straws and a compostable toothbrush added more value to starting my plastic free journey.

6 years ago

I’ve thought about picking up hair elastics from the ground, but I’ve never done it. I’ve also never found a brand I really love. These look awesome!

6 years ago

Plan on trying these! I would not reuse from the ground, I’m in infection control after all.

Eve Stavros
6 years ago

OMG – I thought I was the only one scrounging scrunchies from the parks, the beach, the parking lot!!! My other solution is to crochet tightly with colorful cotton embroidery floss over rubber bands, which are also easily found discarded (sadly) or free from friends/family who buy vegetables which are bundled.

Jolene Miesner
6 years ago

I’ve used other plastic hair goods that I’ve found- clips, combs etc. but not hair ties- that I can remember. Something about the hard plastic that can be more easily washed seems a bit cleaner. But in a pinch I’d probably still use a hair tie.

Tania C.
6 years ago

I pick up all of my hair ties from the ground. I also lose them because they either fall from my head or my cat finds them and they probably get vacuumed up.

Laura B.
6 years ago

I can’t see myself reusing found hair-ties. That could be because the only ones I seem to see have tons of hair on them and have been in a mud puddle for ages. I am still working on a box of hair-ties that is about 20 year old.

Susie Chadwick
6 years ago

I don’t reuse hair ties I find on the ground, but it’s a great soution if you’re avoiding buying plastic.

Angela Vicente
6 years ago

I’m too concerned with the unknown history of stuff found on the ground, but it’s all about context – if I were in dire need, I’d use what I could find. :) I’ve used Kooshoo (the smaller ponytail ones and an elastic headband) and they make nice wrist adornment when not in use. They do stretch out with time – perhaps because of the wrist wearings, but also because I have rather thick hair. Nonetheless, I’m glad they exist and will continue to support them! Customer service emails have quick response time for a small business.

6 years ago

I’ve been looking for plastic-free hair ties for so long… thank you!!!!!!

6 years ago

Would I reuse those discarded hair bands? I think that I’m too paranoid about bugs being on them :-P so unfortunately not! I pick them up and throw them into the nearest trash can. And oh my goodness I would love to get these elastic hair bands. I’ve got to put my hair under control before slipping on my hair cap for the pool! I missed your posts; glad you are back after a well deserved hiatus :)

Larissa Robinson
6 years ago
Reply to  Jeannie

I would cut up the ones discarded on the ground before tossing as birds can get tangled in them. I also would love to try one of these fun new hairbands; thanks!

6 years ago

I bought a 20 pack few years ago and I am still working on it although I wear them every single day. I just wear them out until they don’t stretch anymore and tie them back with a knot if they break. I also pick up discarded ones from the floor. I am quite happy when I find one since they are usually in better condition than the ones in my hair. Maybe that is why my original 20-pack is still holding on? Anyway I would love to try out these new cotton covered ones.

Jennifer Manning
6 years ago

Ooooh… I love the idea of using old socks. Yes, I would, and have, used hair bands that I’ve found on the ground (inspired by a friend who told me she does that very thing – after she drops them in the wash with her laundry). And, I would love to offer my 11 year old daughter a plastic-free elastic for her hair! I love your site and blog. Thank you so much for it all!!!

6 years ago

I use the elastic part of old socks. I love the idea behind Kooshoo but I can’t justify spending 4$ CAD on a single hair tie! Maybe they last longer than what I’m used too but even so!

6 years ago

Well, I would probably wash them first, but sure, thrifty! :) I pick up used bobby pins at work and save them up for people who need them. I’ll start looking for hair ties too!

6 years ago

Yes, I would definitely pick one off the ground, if I found one. Unlike you, though, I’ve never seen one lying around. I would dearly love to try those non-plastic, cotton-covered ones. I imagine they’d be much gentler on my thinning hair, too.