Winter is approaching, including cold ski days – what does one do about eco-friendly hand warmers? We know about the heaps of trash being deposited into landfills, so how can we help reduce this? It’s so easy to purchase low-cost plastic-wrapped, single-use hand warmers, but what’s in these things anyway, in addition to the waste alone?
The hand and foot warmer industry is growing! There are currently four types on the market: 1. Disposable Air-activated, 2. Reusable sodium acetate, 3. Lighter Fuel, and 4. Reusable/Rechargeable.
Air-activated hand warmers emit heat when exposed to air. After all the iron has reacted, this product is most likely landfilled. Most of these single-use warmers can be toxic – you wouldn’t want your pet to eat them. Sodium Acetate warmers require a bit of labor but are a decent reusable option. Reusable lighter-fuel warmers are interesting and lastly there are battery-operated warmers. Any warmer that is reusable is the most cost efficient, depending on how often you require warmers.
Air-activated warmers are only compostable if the filling is organic. If the inner compounds are synthetic (usually), soil will be damaged. Moral of the story – know your product. If hand and foot warmers are a necessity for you or your family, perhaps it’s time for a battery charged option (with reusable batteries) or even the Sodium Acetate variety. If you rarely use warmers, then disposables may suffice. This is life. Weigh it out, always considering the landfill, our water, air, and soil. Good luck!
By Mary Closser