colourful plastic clothes pegs

Washing clothes and drying laundry is unavoidable. Hanging your washing to dry on a clothesline (indoor or out) instead of using a clothes dryer is the first step to greener drying. But have you also thought about what you use to hang your washing on the line? Switching to to one of the more eco-friendly alternatives to plastic pegs is another small way to make less of an impact on our environment.

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reasons not to use plastic pegs

Modern plastic pegs seem like a good idea. They are often colourful, and when new seem as though they will be weather resistant and durable. Plastic pegs also don’t tend to catch on delicate clothes. However, plastic clothespins:

  • fade and crack from repeated exposure to sunlight, and can snap and break;
  • don’t last as long as wooden or metal pegs.

When it comes to being eco-friendly, plastic pegs are not a great choice. Broken or discarded plastic pegs are not recyclable. The plastic ends up in landfill where it ca take hundreds of years to breakdown or decompose. As they don’t last as long as other types of pegs, plastic pegs will need to replaced more often and create even more landfill.

colourful plastic pegs with text "better alternatives to plastic pegs"

Eco-friendly alternatives to Plastic pegs

When it comes to making greener choices, what are the better alternatives to plastic pegs and how do the compare?

Wooden or bamboo pegs

My parents and grandparents before them used wooden pegs. Either the old fashioned type that simply slide over the clothes on the line, or ones with metal springs. It’s a shame that we moved away from these to modern plastic pegs. The promise that plastic would be more durable was probably to blame.

wooden pegs on wooden table with flowers

The reality is that wooden pegs can be more durable than plastic. Bamboo pegs in particular are quite durable and resistant to UV. If cared for properly, they will not break as quickly as plastic pegs and will last for many years. It’s important not to leave wooden clothespins out in the weather on your clothes line as they will deteriorate with time. Just be sure to take your clothespins off the line at the same time as you bring in your washing.

When it comes to caring for the environment, wooden or bamboo pages are a much kinder choice. The wood or bamboo parts can be composted, and the metal springs can be recycled.

Stainless steel Pegs

Stainless steel pegs are more expensive, but are a wise investment. There is no reason why they shouldn’t last you a lifetime, which means you’ll never need to replace them. Metal or wire pegs are usually made with a single piece of stainless steel wire shaped into a hinged peg. As a result there are less parts than wooden or plastic pegs and they are less likely to break.

stainless steel clothes pegs in brown cardboard packaging

As well as being long lasting, stainless steel pegs are made from a recyclable material and won’t end up in landfill. Stainless steel pegs are easy to open and use and will hold clothes firmly to the line, even in windy weather. They also don’t leave as much of a mark on clothing as plastic and wooden pegs do.

There are different grades of stainless steel pegs. Marine grade stainless steel clothespins (Grade 316) tend to be more expensive, but are strong and highly resistant to corrosion. These are the best option if you live close to the sea where salt can cause problems with metals.

If you don’t need marine grade steel, it’s fine to choose a lower grade of stainless steel peg. Grade 304 steel pegs are a medium grade peg that is suitable for most people. These pegs are rust and corrosion resistant and can even be left outside (if you don’t live near the sea and salty sea breezes). Grade 201 steel pegs are more cost effective, but like wooden pegs they shouldn’t be left out in the elements. Be sure to bring them in with your washing to ensure they last the distance.

We love Biome stainless steel pegs which come in different grades of stainless steel to suit different environments. They also have

Vida Picks wire clothes pins are made from medium Grade 304 stainless steel and are a great environmentally friendly choice for hanging out your laundry. They come in a pack of 40 in a handy storage bag.

What to do with your current plastic pegs

If you are currently using plastic pegs, please don’t throw them away if they are still in good condition. Plastic clothespins aren’t recyclable, so to throw them away will just add to landfill. It’s best to make do with your plastic ones for the rest of their useful life. But when it comes to replacing them or buying more, choose an alternative to plastic pegs that is kinder to the environment (and your clothes).

More green choices

Looking for more small ways to be green? Make another easy swap at home by choosing compostable parchment paper for baking. Try choosing a compostable phone case, or explore our eco-friendly confetti ideas. Or read about how you can choose more sustainable home decor options for your home.

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