Recycling stockings and pantyhose

Stockings, pantyhose and other similar forms are hosiery aren’t something I’m overly familiar with as a direct consumer, but I’ve certainly found them to be a handy item outside of their normal applications.

Mostly made of nylon, stockings and pantyhose add to our already overburdened general waste stream. The good news is that with recent changes in womens’ fashion trends, stocking/hosiery consumption is declining. However, while I wasn’t able to find any figures about how many pairs/sets of stockings are produced annually; the market in the USA alone is still somewhere around the $1 billion a year mark. That’s a lot of stockings that are likely being thrown away each year.

Nylon is created from a process using coal as a major component. The production of nylon is also very water and energy intensive. Once these items have outlived their main purpose, usually in a relatively short time, they’ll still be with us for many years to come as nylon is non-biodegradable. It takes approximately 30 – 40 years for nylon fabrics to decompose.

Once your stockings are no longer wearable; here’s some handy tips for reuse that will help keep them out of landfill for longer and can act as a replacement for other items you may buy.

– Using a wire frame made from a coathanger, the stocking can make a great pond skimmer

– Place a stocking over your floor broom; you’ll be amazed at what it picks up that your broom doesn’t. This is especially useful in households with animals.

– A stocking or leg from pantyhose can be used as an emergency fan belt replacement. Tie the hose around the crank and pump pulleys only and be sure to cut off the loose ends from the knot. This should get you out of trouble for a short distance.

– Applying varnish or finish in hard-to-reach places.

– Tying up trees and plants. Stockings are incredibly strong – I had a 6 foot shrub blow over in the wind and used a stocking affix it to a stake. A year later and it’s still in place. Stockings are soft and very stretchy, so they won’t damage your plants.

– Pantyhose make excellent polishing cloths and are great for shining shoes

– Store onions or flower bulbs in a stocking leg

– Put a bar of soap (or small pieces) into a pantyhose leg and hang on your outside taps – a convenient soap holder!

– Given their ability to stretch and strenght, pantyhose and stocking can be used for various tie down applications; e.g the trunk lid of your car.

– Use old nylon stockings cleaning sinks, baths and benchtops without scratching them.

– Cut the tops off the elastic part of the pantyhose and use it as a large rubber band

– Store rolls of gift wrap, wallpaper, posters in a stocking leg to help protect them from damage.

– Store jewelry in a pantyhose leg, tying off between each item to help protect and prevent the pieces from rubbing against each other.

– Place pantyhose over growing vegetables such as squash to reduce damage from bugs. You can also hang some vine vegetables in this way to keep them off the ground.

– Tie a stocking or pantyhose leg on the outlet hose of your washing machine to help catch lint that may otherwise contribute to drain blockages.

– Use small pieces of the fabric to help remove nail polish.

– use as stuffing for craft projects such as cushions and dolls

– Place seed you’ve collected from vegetables in a stocking leg and hang outside to dry.

As you can see, there’s far more you can do with your pantyhose and stockings after you’ve finished wearing them! Have some tips for reusing these times? Please add them below!