Thursday, 23 July 2009

There's more to life than pants - or is there?

Perpetual pants on the washing line.

Now rumour may have it that I have been lost in landfill counting the number of hen party doodahs, but trust me, life's not been that exciting and I have a whole range of excuses why I've been absent for the last 10 days.

As well as celebrating my birthday and the effects of getting older, I've actually been busy catching up with my regular routine of washing more pants!

I know it's the school holidays and I should be getting out more, but summer holidays or not, between kids' activities and birthday celebrations there are always pants to sort out. And in the Almost Average Household a family of four can easily generate a washload of 28 pairs in just a week plus the extra stock to cope with emergencies. Indeed if I dared risk a survey, I'm sure I'd discover well over 100 of the blighters stuffed in drawers, washing baskets and the airing cupboard.

Big ones and little ones, not to mention the enormous Bridget Jones affairs that need tent pegs to keep them in place during the more blustery of days. Between us, we've probably got enough to last us for a whole month!

No wonder I'm beginning to feel like Widow Twankey with my perpetual washing line, both indoors and out. All weather laundry facilities for one of life's necessities.

Now it's all very well me washing my dirty laundry in public, but what about the other stuff, you know, the unspoken issue about what you do with your old pants when you've er... "done with them"... when they're all frayed or moth-eaten and couldn't possibly cope with another outing?

Bunging them in the landfill bin might be the easy choice, but is it the right option?

Well it's certainly not the done thing to donate them to charity shops, is it? Think about it. Have you ever seen undies for sale in your local store? Even if some folk actually do dump their old pants onto charity stores, they really don't want them and volunteers don't relish the task of sorting them into the rag bag along with other unwanted items.

Of course, kids' pants that are in good condition can be passed onto friends with younger children and adult ones can always be repurposed as dusters. Cotton ones or those made from bamboo fibres can even be composted.

And my hat really goes off to some creative folk in Langton Herring, Dorset, who have adopted a credit-crunch theme for their village fete, using their skills to transform villagers' briefs into bunting. If you're in the area, no doubt you'll see them flapping about this weekend.

But if using your frillies to spice up your cleaning routine is not your kind of thing and you have no need for alternative bunting, there are at least other options than simply dumping your old bloomers into landfill.

I never really considered the issue before, much preferring the more discreet option of throwing our old undies in the rubbish bin. But since the zero waste challenge I've adopted the policy of hoarding them ad infinitum.

So I can't believe it's taken me this long to realise that the answer to recycling old pants is very simple indeed.

Of course it's obvious now....

And the solution is the textiles recycling bank, which can be found at my local Household Waste Recycling Centre.

They normally accept all forms of clean clothing. All donations are then sorted for reuse or recycling. And even if there's no second-hand market for your smalls, the good news is they can be shredded for stuffing. Who knows what they could come back as.

But as you know, all council services differ. Where I may be able to get rid of a drawer full of old drawers at my recycling centre, it's always wise to check your local facilities first.

And the best person to help is your local waste and recycling officer. You can find their telephone number here.

So don't be shy. Ring today. I'm pretty sure you'll brighten up their day and they'll probably be delighted to tell you that all you need to do is bag them up separately before you drop them into the container.

And if local facilities are available - do tell your friends.

Gee - this could even be the start of a movement to save pants from landfill all around the world!

Holey Pants! Just imagine.

Yes yes, I know. There is more to life than pants. I've already acknowledged I should get out more.

And as ever, I promise there'll be an official debrief as soon as I do!

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7 comments:

Gill - That British Woman said...

I just popped by to say hello and to catch up with what you have been up too....

Gill in Canada

Danda said...

Oh, Karen!!! First of all I must apologize, I forgot to wish you HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Sorry!!! :(
Please, accept my best wishes now!

I hope you had the time to enjoy your celebration!!! You could create a very original and funny decoration for your birthday party with all that coloured pants hung all around! LOL

Pants... eh eh...
To wash pants is the thing I've just done this morning... I haven't kids like you, but I hate to wash them the same! :)

And I don't like frayed undies... so I've ever used them as dusters. I didn't know they can be composted... we have all cotton undies, so it could be ok, and recently we bought organic cotton ones too. But what about the coloured clothes? Is it safe to put them in the compost bin?
So let me know... and take a rest for now with pants! :D
I promise I'll write you soon!
Danda
xxx

cartside said...

Well, we used to recycle old pants as cleaning cloths. That's my mum, I never did it myself, and it's hard in these days of 50 p for a 10 pack of cloths to see why you would do such a thing. But it worked fine, for all general wet cleaning. Of course clothes banks are great and a general way of getting rid of old clothes.

clareybabble said...

Thanks for posting, have often wondered what to do with our old undies! Have tagged you over at mine xx

Maisie said...

I always put any old clothes which can't be passed on or donated to a charity shop into the school collection.
www.bag2School.com this not only saves the items going to lanfill but the PTA also benefit.

mrsnesbitt said...

Well hello and well done that woman! I have been reading your blog via Ruby who blogs from York, not far from us here near Whitby! I regularly receive some wonderful offerings from the local tip! What people throw away is criminal!

ALMOST MRS AVERAGE said...

Hi Gill - great to see you over here, hope you're well. Look forward to a catch up soon. :-D

Thanks Danda - I've had a great time thank you. Now on the subject of cotton pants in the compost bin that's a very good question. I'm afraid I am not an expert on the dyes that are used in the coloured varieties or even if bleaching agents are used on the white ones, but if you're using the compost for just mulch in the flower beds that might still be okay. If you're putting it on the veg patch, then organic pants might be in order :-D

Hi Cartside - you're right cleaning cloths are so cheap these days - with the exception of the microfibre ones of course, (which I must add are BRILLIANT for cleaning windows and other surfaces without the need for chemicals). Pants are really fab for dusting though.

Hi Clareybabble - glad to be of assistance and I'll be popping over to look at that tag very soon. :-D

Hi Maisie - School collections are great aren't they. We've held one recently for Recycle Week and I can't wait to hear how much we've raised. Thanks for the bags2schools link. We used BCR, which is a scheme very similar - but I'm not sure if we raised as much as the B2S alternative. :-D

Hi Mrs Nesbitt - thank you so much for saying hello - I love your picture too. It really is incredible to see what folk throw away isn't it and it still feels like a huge learning curve and step change is required. Am missing Ruby's blog - she hasn't blogged in ages. Hope she starts again soon. Thanks again for dropping in, so nice to see you :-D

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