Zero Waste Alternative to Band-Aids

Photo by  Danielle Dolson  on  Unsplash

In the last few weeks I've been identifying items in my home that could and should be replaced with non-disposable, zero waste alternatives.  Q-tips were a relatively easy one.  As I was cleaning out my handbag the other day, I found a few lone band-aids floating in the bottom that I kept there for emergencies - usually shoes that rubbed holes in my feet.  

The package was worn off and they were caked with dust from the bottom of my bag, and there's no way I would ever put them on an open wound, so there's a couple grams of plastic gone to the landfill.  But it got me thinking, is there a biodegradable alternative to band-aids? 

You may be thinking, you're an adult, how often do you need band-aids?  Well, aside from the above mentioned shoe scenario, it depends on your extracurricular activities.  In New York, Mat and I participated in local bicycle races almost every weekend, which occasionally resulted in road rash on our knees and elbows.  So we probably used more than our fair share of band-aids as adults. 

The good news is, there is a pretty easy alternative: make your own bandage out of cotton gauze and adhesive tape.  

Unbeknownst to me, there are a few adhesive tape options in existence that are biodegradable.  One of them is cellulose tape or "Sellotape", a term Mat (a U.K. native) often uses and up to now I never really understood. I thought it was just a British word for Scotch tape, but in fact there are adhesive tapes made from plant cellulose that are 100% biodegradable.  Win.  

The other is paper tape, which is basically exactly what it sounds like.  Paper backing with latex-based adhesive that is also begging for your compost bin. 

So, biodegradable tape + biodegradable cotton gauze = protected wounds and happy earth. 

An added bonus to this lovely research is that I now know about alternative tapes, and can use them for any packaging or taping needs I may have in the future - this will be handy come Christmas when I'll be wrapping trinkets in newspaper for my loved ones.