Tights present a two-pronged problem for the eco-aware consumer: first, they tend to be among the most disposable elements of our wardrobes, given their tendency to ladder. Secondly, they are a total pain to recycle. But a scheme set up by Tightsplease.com aims to help women in poorer countries while making use of your castoffs at the same time.
The site has got involved with a really worthwhile project that helps women in Ethiopia who have suffered a fistula injury due to complications in childbirth; a problem that is almost unknown in the West. You can by sending them your old (washed) tights. Ladders and holes are not a problem, because following their operations, the women use the panty parts of the tights to hold their bandages in place. Nothing goes to waste as the legs are woven into rugs. Information on where to send your old tights can be found here.
Image: How Can I Recycle This?
Follow the jump for more suggestions on what to do with old tights
If you don't want to part with your tights just yet (but can't actually wear them!) here are some suggestions for putting them to good use:
1. Make Fragrant sachets. Cut across the legs of the tights so that you are left with around four pieces of material. Fill each piece with lavender and tie the ends so that you are left with lavender scented balls. These can go in underwear drawers, wardrobes, kitchen cupboards and hidden in corners of the room to keep your house smelling lovely.
2. Opaque tights for cleaning - the higher denier the better - are great for using as soft dust cloths. Wool tights are also perfect for shining surfaces and mirrors.
3. Liquid Straining:- Low denier tights are great for straining off liquids such as paints
4. Supporting young plants. - You can use tights to tie plants to bamboo canes to
support them in their early stages. Their texture and stretch is perfect so that plants are not damaged as they grow. Believe it or not the botantical gardens in London often use Pretty Polly tights!
5. Garden uses. Tights can be used to protect plants or vegetable patches from animals and children. Cut down the side of the tights and stretch them over the vegetable patch and then pin into the ground. Or for plants: pull the hosiery over the plant and fasten at the base.
6. Fun for children - Creative applications such as sling shot, and making stuffed animals. All types, colours and deniers of hosiery are great for fancy dress. For example: Create a cat's tail by taking an old pair of black tights and stuffing one leg with tissue or old newspaper. Position the stuffed leg at the bottom and use the empty leg to pull around the waist and tie to the stuffed leg at the back. They also make great puppets which children can make themselves.
7. Keep in first aid kit - Keep a pair of tights in a first aid kit as they make a great flexible sling. They can also be used to help apply pressure to bandage over a wound.
8. Arm warmers. The 80's fashion revival took us by storm with leg warmers coming back to the fashion scene. If you want to go one stage further then use a pair of tights as arm warmers. Cut a small and large hole in the toe so that the thumb and fingers are exposed. Cut both legs off from the body and gusset part so that they are the same length as each other and they put them on either arm. Wool tights are great fro keeping arms warm, while fashion tights such as fishnets or brightly coloured prints are a great accessory to an outfit.
9. Emergency fan belt - If you breakdown because your fan belt has snapped then you should hope that there is someone wearing tights. Wait for the engine to cool down (as it is likely to have overheaded) and tie the tights tightly where the belt was. This is only a temporary meassure to get you home and you may need to keep stopping to check it is still in place. Keep an eye on engine temperature the whole time.
10. Storage - A leg of tights is great for storing rolls of wallpaper and posters. Cut the waistband out and use this around the legs stored with wallpaper or posters so that they stay in place.
Alternatively, you might want to turn your old tights into a fun, creative project. Crafty Crafty has some suggestions.