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Why It’s Time to Make the Switch to Compostable Band-Aids


We know by now that plastic bottles are supposed to be recycled and food waste can be composted so it biodegrades. But as knowledge of sustainability deepens, it’s the small things that are often most surprising. Take band-aids for example. Did you know most band-aids are made from plastic? The adhesive sheet of a band-aid is usually made from a type of plastic, either PVC, polyethylene, or polyurethane. Plastic band-aids don’t break down; they are single-use plastic items that have to be brought to the incineration plant in order for them to dispose properly. Case and point: it’s time to make the switch to compostable band-aids.

Before getting into low-impact bandage alternatives, let’s first look at why plastic band-aids do not biodegrade. Polyurethane, which is petroleum-based, is the same toxic compound found in chemical-laden mattresses. While polyethylene is considered a “safe plastic,” the process of manufacturing it requires industrial chemicals including butane, benzene, and vinyl acetate, making the process less than eco-friendly. The third substance plastic bandages are usually made from is PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. Also known as vinyl, it’s the most toxic plastic for both our personal health and environment. Vinyl releases a plethora of dangerous chemicals, including dioxins, phthalates, lead, and more. So not only are band-aids not sustainably-made, and not able to biodegrade, but plastic band-aids are also hazardous to our health.