The 90’s trend of hair scrunchies is back with a boom but are they bad for the environment?

Columnist Kirsty-Jo discusses the effects littered bobbles have on nature – should we ditch the scrunchies?

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 11:04 am
An assortment of scrunchies.

I’ve noticed a certain type of litter.

A lot.

They’re in the street, in car parks and often around my house.

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Usually, they are pretty clean-looking and still useable but get left in the street to presumably be swept away into our gutters and waterways.

I don’t think that any of this litter is intentional, it’s just an accumulation of misplaced useful items.

Hair bobbles, bands, hair elastic and ponytailers.

Whatever you call them if you use them you probably lose them constantly, have them around your wrist or in your jeans pocket and probably a few in the bottom of your bag.Maybe one or two are in your car door, and one or two are in your desk drawer for good measure.

When you can’t find one when you need one, it can be quite frustrating!

They are commonly “elastic” but they are far from single use and you’d be hard pushed to find a good alternative without elastic or plastic.

I see them dog walking, shopping and strolling through town and I always think, “that could be mine that I dropped last time I was here” but I’m not picking it up because it’s dirty.

The truth is that they never look THAT dirty and even if I’m not up for putting it in my hair straight away, they could be washed easily.

They could also be used for all sorts of things as well as tying your hair up.

You could fold up and secure your bag for life with one, keep your pens together in your bag with one or keep a broken purse or small notebook shut with one.

I have used one to secure things to my belt loop and fixed a broken bauble hanger with one at Christmas.

There are lots of possible uses for a re- discovered bobble and after a quick wash, I would probably use one in my hair- there are some days when you just need a bobble and your stash has run dry.

If you can’t bring yourself to pick one up off the street to reuse, there is another great reason to pick up a bobble you spot, even if it is just to put it in the bin.

Any litter which has a “loop” in it is a physical risk to wildlife.

Like the plastic rings that keep a four-pack together, hair bobbles and elastic bands can tangle or trap a wild animal causing physical damage and even death.

Wild animals just can’t free themselves from “loops”, especially elastic ones, and in the UK our precious hedgehog population are very susceptible to this type of injury.

If they get into our rivers and seas, aquatic life can similarly be injured and killed.

If you see a lost bobble (and you are bound to notice them now!), think about picking it up.

If you can’t bring yourself to wash it and reuse it, please make sure it is snapped before you throw it away.

Don’t let the loop into the wild!