Wanted: Used condoms. Hair-raising reward

Conscious of the environmental chaos that looms, China is encouraging its millions of avid consumers to recycle used products. But recycling condoms in the service of hair care?

According to an AFP report, China is recycling used condoms into colourful rubber hair ties. Health officials are worried that people might get genital warts or HIV by holding the hairbands in their mouths while plaiting their hair. Let’s leave aside the biological impossibility of this. My question is: where do they get the used condoms?

This post was published on 30/11/07 in Condomania.

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  1. Comment by Andrew, 30/11/07, 07:10:

    Where will they get the used condoms?
    A suggestion: Set up a public/private programme where the prostitutes bring in used condoms after the night’s work, and receive a small incentive for doing so. Analysis for several diseases is run on the contents, and a running total of infections avoided is, um, disseminated (probably not for the individual women, but for their “stroll.”) The recyclers pay a small fee for the used condoms, contributing to the cost of the programme. Hey presto! data, health protection and environmental friendliness in one tidy, um, package.

  2. Comment by Lee Rudolph, 06/12/07, 05:53:

    [I posted essentially this before the website makeover; that response seems to have gotten lost. It is entirely serious.] Elizabeth Pisani asks, of the program already (purportedly) in existence, “where do they get the used condoms?” I have been informed (I do not know with how much accuracy) that many, many used condoms turn up among other refuse on the preprocessing screens in municipal sewage treatment plants in the US; if this is true, and plants of similar design are used in China, I would guess that they would be the easiest source (given that the screened refuse has to be disposed of somehow).

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