Loom bands threaten the world


Loom bands are thingies comprised of interlocking elastic bands. The interlocking bit is accomplished by means of a Rainbow Loom Kit or fingers. Over three million Rainbow Looms have been sold worldwide and now Amazon’s top 30 best-selling toys are loom-related. Celebrities seen wearing loom bands include the Duchess of Cambridge, David Beckham and Miley Cyrus, even though loom bands threaten the world.

Loom bands need not be bands – they can also be such things as animal shapes, skipping ropes or a suit as worn by US TV host, Jimmy Kimmel.

Richard Gottlieb, founder of the consultancy, Global Toy Experts, described loom bands as “a phenomenon.”

The family-related blog, The Family Beast, stated that loom bands would be welcomed by any parent who had ever remarked, “Put that iPad down!” Better yet, this is a cheap pastime, with 10,000 bands costing as little as USD32/GBP20/EUR26.

The downside, as the blogger, Big Fashionista, put it, is “These pesky little bands get in more places than they really should. My house is overrun with them.”

Some schools banned them after pupils employed them as weapons or for fear that they were a distraction or they cut off the blood flow to fingers.

And loom bands threaten the world.

Six-year-old Melbourne schoolgirl, Edith Coote, started a petition at change.org that urged the manufacturer of the Rainbow Loom to make loom bands biodegradable because “they are made of synthetic rubber — which lasts forever.” (1) This is a gross exaggeration: it doesn’t last forever – merely a few thousand years.

Rubber production is also generally responsible for much in the way of carbon emissions. When these minuscule rubber bands wash down drains and eventually enter the ocean along with more than seven million tons of other rubbish every year, fish and other sea creatures and birds can consume them, perhaps attracted by the bright colours, and this can injure or kill them.

As a Filipino animal rights group warned, pets are also at risk, although in the United Kingdom, the RSPCA announced that no problems had been reported.

The petition attracted over 1,000 supporters in the space of a few days. An article in the Grauniad posited the question, “Are loom bands the next environmental disaster?” So this esteemed news organ believes that loom bands threaten the world.

In 2011, there was a foretaste of how loom bands threaten the world when the Royal Mail’s posties began to use red rubber bands to keep letters together when they were on their rounds. A spokeswoman for the recycling consultants, WasteConnect, grieved that over four billion bands were used and people found them on the street. At least those could be sent back to the Royal Mail.

About the Author Timothy Chilman

Timothy Chilman used to work in IT. Once, in Sydney, he was turned down for a job because he was “too flamboyant” (“Someone who wears green tartan suspenders to a job interview probably isn’t going to fit in here”). Timothy then became an English teacher. University students in Bangkok complained that he was “too enthusiastic” and company students in Prague complained that he was “too theatrical.”

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