5 plastic free alternatives to sticking plasters (band aid)

Jane says “Is there a Zero Waste alternative to sticking plasters? I know it’s good to leave cuts uncovered, but sometimes they bleed a lot or are too painful to leave uncovered.

“A big bandage on a finger cut would be over the top. I thought of cutting down little pieces of cloth but they would still need to be fastened on with something – a safety pin would be too big. Do you have any ideas?”

I put the question out to our community and here’s what they came up with:

Organic cotton plasters

Erica says “It may not be the complete answer (and I’ve not bought any yet myself) but I did notice on Green Fibres website that they sell organic cotton sticking plasters – possibly a step in the right direction?”

Mrs Green’s edit: I’m looking at the ingredients (78% organic cotton and 22% natural adhesive) and wondering if these might be compostable – hmmm, worth a look…

Paper medical tape

Amelia said “We had trouble with this too, especially as the kids loved decorated plasters (mostly for the placebo effect of having something there). For small cuts, we now let them air-dry and slather on some vitamin E oil or coconut oil with tea tree: naturally antimicrobial, antibacterial, and with a hug and kiss it takes care of the placebo effect. For things that really need to be covered, we use cloth bandages cut to size and paper medical tape, both of which are compostable.”

Spray on skin

Angela said “Has Jane tried spray on skin?  Although you then have to resist picking it off!  I heard a rumour once that super glue was developed by the army for sticking wounds together but I don’t know if this is true or not.

She then sent me this photo:


Mrs Green’s edit: Yep, I’ve heard the same about superglue; from a paramedic, so I guess it’s true!


Stephanie said “If you can’t get a cut to stop bleeding without using a band-aid, put a little flour on it to get the bleeding to stop. It’s something almost everyone keeps around the house.”


Jen wrote “I use a folded piece of tissue and sellotape – only because I am allergic to plaster, but not to sellotape!”

Mrs Green’s edit: I guess if you use ‘real’ sellotape, you can compost everything after use – perfect!

Edit – 16th June 2015

Over on Facebook, Ariana took us up to SIX suggestions when she mentioned something today I’ve never heard of before. She wrote “Lamb’s ear. You can grow it yourself, they’re antibacterial, and the science behind it is actually sound. They don’t need anything to keep them in place, and they’re really comfortable.”

Isn’t that wonderful?!

What about you – do you have any suggestions for Jane to avoid sticking plasters?


Can you spare a moment to help me?

Hot 100 resource magazine time to vote!

Last year I was number 11 in the ‘Hot 100’ for the movers and shakers in the recycling world.

And it’s time to vote again!

If you click here, or on the image above, scroll down to number 11 (that’s me – Rachelle Strauss) then click ‘vote’ – a box will appear where you can write the reason for your nomination. I’d love you to vote for me; just a short sentence will do!

Thanks so much!

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Rachelle Strauss


  1. suellap on October 28, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I take almost all delivered bags to my nearest Charity shop in the village, but do save some. As they are free I have no compunction to not reuse them for whatever I need a big bag for.

    Spider webs are great coagulants if you have no flour.

    I’d love to know more about vegetarian zero waste, please.

    • Rachelle Strauss on October 29, 2014 at 7:57 am

      Thanks for sharing, Suella 🙂 Great thought about the spider webs; the original ‘stitches’ I believe 🙂

      What is it you’d like to know about a veggie zero waste? Are there any particular issues you’re finding difficult?

  2. Michael Lomotey (@MichaelLomotey) on October 31, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    A word of caution, blood can carry contaminants hence the need for a sure seal.

    • Rachelle Strauss on October 31, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks for adding to the conversation, Michael and sharing your concerns

  3. Ariana on June 16, 2015 at 8:07 am

    I love the flour idea, I never thought of that before! My grandma used to put sugar on bleeding cuts, which stopped it right away (and doesn’t hurt one bit). Must be the same principle.

    • Rachelle Strauss on June 16, 2015 at 8:10 am

      Thanks for your comment Ariana. And of course there are cobwebs too – if what I have read is true, these were used before we developed stitches to hold wounds together!

  4. PJFS on November 12, 2019 at 12:49 am

    Small cuts can be closed with styptic powder, which is made from alum, and it also comes in a stick in the shaving aisle at the drug store or grocery store, the powder can be found in the shaving area, first aid, and pet needs, as it is also used for accidents whilst trimming the toenails of birds

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