High on the list of complaints about pantyhose is that it just doesn’t last long enough. But from an environmental point of view it lasts too long once a discarded pair moves from your household trash to the landfill. Efforts at recycling can include using old pantyhose to stake tomato plants and make sachets, but there’s a small snag considering that sheer hosiery sales alone exceeded $1 billion over a recent 12-month period, according to the NPD Group, a market research company.
Some hosiery companies have moved toward more environmentally-friendly manufacturing, says Sally Kay, president and CEO of the Hosiery Association, a trade group. Open a package of No nonsense pantyhose and you’ll find a green card encouraging you to gather your old pantyhose and mail them to the company, where they’ll be sent to recycling facilities to be used to make park benches, ropes and playground equipment. “Our current goal is to recycle five percent of our sheer hosiery shipments, the most popular kind sold,” says Steve Brinkey, director of marketing at Kayser-Roth, maker of No nonsense.
The company accepts all brands and colors of stockings, tights, and knee highs for recycling. The program was inspired, in part, by Nike’s recycling of athletic shoes, turning them into playground and athletic surfaces. Nike’s website claims the company recycles more than 1.5 million pairs of shoes a year.