Do zero waste rubber gloves exist?

Filed in Blog by on February 15, 2010 16 Comments
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zero waste rubber gloves!

zero waste rubber gloves!

This week we’ve solved another landfill issue – rubber gloves! How many of you end up with rubber gloves to throw away simply because you’ve caught the end of one finger with a knife or speared it with the prong of a fork?

I know many of you have orphan gloves at home, hoping the next time you’ll behead the other glove, only to find by the end of the year you’ve actually got a drawer full of left hand gloves.

I was going to create a glove amnesty; an online dating service for lonely gloves, an adoption agency for the unwanted gloves in the UK, but Mr Green pointed out that he wouldn’t want to stick his hand in a rubber glove that someone else had worn.

Maybe he was on to something or maybe he is overly sensitive, I don’t know…

Anyway, worry no longer because a zero waste solution is here thanks to a subsidiary of Community Foods called “Green Tips“.

Green Tips household gloves are made from 100% FSC certified rubber which means you can cut them up and add to your compost bin, or, a top tip straight from the marketing Director’s mouth – leave them in a hot sunny place, like a greenhouse. Eventually they will become stiff, dry out and crumble into component latex parts.

Oh, and they are wrapped in cardboard, NOT in an unmarked crinkly plastic bag that usually ends up in landfill!


What about you? How do you deal with lonesome rubber gloves?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (16)

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  1. Alea says:

    I have been dealing with the glove problem by doing without and, in the process, scalding my hands. This seems like a much less painful solution!

  2. Karen says:

    I use vinyl gloves instead of rubber gloves. They are a bit more expensive. I am sure they last much longer and are good when sensitive to rubber. When they develop holes I then use them when gardening. It has been a long time since I threw any in the bin. They don’t stick together as the rubber ones do.

  3. If you care also do a version of these although I’ve not seen these on any uk website only there own in US.

  4. John Costigane says:

    My leftover righthand glove would certainly match the mainstream end product but as Mr Green rightly says in used ones beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In this case beauty means functionality only as the aesthetics are minimal.

    Rubber gloves were used many years ago and seemed to lose shape with usage. Composting was not an issue then so both types had waste outcomes. This new type offers some promise but should be fully checked out . If all boxes are ticked, this would be another Zero Waste Alternative in the true sense since, like unpackaged purchases, a waste outcome is totally avoided.

    I enjoyed a recent frank ‘battle of the sexes’ topic, and links, on Beth’s site FakePlasticFish. The female basis of the trend, and male reactions, were aired showing some negative aspects. This is an issue and may explain some of the hostile posts on other various sites.

    The Green family shows the best approach and has a central role in the trend. This has been increasingly recognised by others showing the validity of their efforts. On the subject of Incentivised Recycling, away from its political aspect, there is talk of weighing waste bins instead of recycling bins, as at present. This is, in effect, recognising the value of Zero Waste. it might mean taking out an empty bin but there should be an exemption for enthusiasts to allow our rightful claim to undisturbed sleep.

  5. charlotte says:

    I’ve found that washing up gloves break on the fingers, not on the wrists, so I cut the wrists up to make elastic bands and then landfill the fingers- but I’m going to look into getting compostable ones.

  6. Ben says:

    I think most rubber gloves are biodegradable latex? I’ve composted them in the past, well they went in the compost and were never seen again. Those plastic packets are impossible to recycle though, so these look good. I don’t know why shops can’t sell gloves individually and unwrapped from a card box.

    I did however buy some heavy duty triple dipped vinyl gloves, which lasted about 18 months of washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. When I finally went back to the shop to replace them, they’d (perhaps unsurprisingly) stopped selling them.

  7. Jannet says:

    I’m waiting (in vain so far) for a company that makes separate right + left handed gloves. Being right handed I always find the fingers ot the right glove get holes in first. I do then use them for gardening but I still have good left gloves with plenty of wear in them. If you could buy them separatley the problem would be solved. (I have tried turning a left glove inside out and using it as a right glove but it gets uncomfortably sweaty inside.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Alea: Hi Alea, I must admit I’d been doing the same as you. It’s not high water temperatures that get to me; I seem to be immune to that after working in the catering trade for a couple of years, but the continual hands-in-washing-up-liquid thing does dry my hands out; even eco friendly detergents do that.

    @Karen: Hi Karen, I don’t think I’ve ever seen vinyl gloves – good idea to reuse them in the garden!

    @maisie dalziel: Hi Maisie; thanks – I’ll look out for them!

    @John Costigane: Hi John, the idea of weighing bins is a good one I feel. It will be interesting to see if this idea develops.

    @Ben: Hi Ben, I’m really not sure about other gloves; perhaps you are right (as your own composting would seem to show) and all gloves are the same, so the best thing about these is the packaging. I’ll speak to Paul and ask him what he can tell us about other brands. Single gloves for sale would be a great idea!

    @charlotte: Hi Charlotte; the idea of making rubber bands is fab! I would never have thought of that one – thank you!

    @Jannet: Hi Jannet; single sold gloves would be great. Maybe there is a business idea in there for someone 😉

  9. David says:

    What a great little post! Once again Mrs Green’s charming and disarming way with words has won me over to another positive lifestyle change – this time in the form of Green Tips rubber gloves. They arrived this morning and have already been put to work. Brilliant!

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @David: Hi David, thanks for your comment and I’m delighted you are now the happy owner of a pair of zero waste gloves!

  11. Layla says:

    Great post! I was thinking about gloves recently too! (Dry skin etc!)
    Some eco detergents can be even more drying than ‘conventional’ with balm etc – so experimentation is needed!
    Do you know anything about any colors or additives added to the gloves? (I’d be happy with dull colors, just to know they’re really eco and safely compostable!)

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @Layla: Layla, I don’t know anything about the dyes – good question though as they are all very bright! I can’t imagine muddy brown gloves somehow LOL! Marketing again you see 😉

  13. If you turn a left glove inside out, you can use it on your right. Don’t you have plastic recycling where you live? As long as you are throwing your plastics into the right bin, there is no chance it’ll end up polluting nature.

  14. Iz says:

    @Jannet i know it’s a late reply but maybe someone else will read this..
    wow! Turning a glove inside out is a good idea! I use cotton gloves (bought in a beauty shop to wear overnight with handcream) under the rubber ones.(i put sime oil on my hands so instead of drying them i care for them while dishwashing ;)) The cotton gloves could be a solution for the sweating. I also have single use latex gloves which are compostable and come in a cardboard box. They can be used many more times than once, they are all identical so no left and right problem. They are just much shorter on the wrists. This hasn’t been an issue for me so far.

  15. dlenn7 says:

    Terracycle have a programme to recycle VHS tapes and one for Storage media. You have to buy the boxes which aren’t cheap and then schedule a collection or take to a collection point but if you want to get rid of them in a responsible manner it’s the way to go. They sometimes have offers on them. I’m waiting for the next time they have an offer.

  16. dlenn7 says:

    I make rubberbands out of the wrists too – glad it’snot just me and turn them inside out – the rubber/latex ones I use don’t have a lining so there’s not much difference. I have the same problem with gardening gloves but my mum and I just discovered we wear out the opposite hands so might be swapping spare gloves.

    The link to the green tips site doesn’t work anymore btw. but if you google you can still find them e.g. amazon sadly they are cotton flock lined, so I can’t wear them as I’m allergic to that type of lining.

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