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10 uses for a red rubber band

Madonna wearing a red wristband
Red Kabbalah wristbands cost money. Red rubber bands are free.

The Royal Mail is under pressure to stop its posties from dropping red rubber bands onto the ground. But are there any uses that could be found for the ubiquitous bands to spare them the effort?

1. Use them as cheap Kabbalah wrist bands. Madonna wears one and buying them from the Kabbalah Centre costs $26 for enough red string to make seven bands.

They say: "The Red String protects us from the influences of the Evil Eye. Evil Eye is a very powerful negative force. It refers to the unfriendly stare and unkind glances we sometimes get from people around us."

2. Consider them a collector's item. There is a fad among scooter-riding children to collect the bands by putting them over the T-bar and dropping them down the central column. Encourage your child to collect the most.

Scooter festooned with red rubber bands
Children like to collect the bands and put them on their scooters

3. Use them to build a giant red rubber band monument on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square to either of the London inventors credited with creating the rubber band. The invention is variously attributed to Thomas Hancock or Stephen Perry.

4. Fire them in the air to indicate support at a Labour or Republican party rally.

5. Consider the bending down and the picking up of the bands as exercise. It shouldn't be too hard to keep up a regular rhythm as the red bands were chosen by the Royal Mail so they were easy to spot.

6. Use them to mark Chinese new year. Red is considered lucky by many in China and is worn during festivities. It's a mere 314 days until the next festivities.

7. Make a red rubber band ball. This is similar to a manila-coloured rubber band ball. But red. Like a cricket ball.

Red rubber band ball
If you are a patient/obsessive person you might consider this option

8. Use them to enrage bulls. Ignore those people who think that bulls are colour blind and therefore just as likely to be annoyed by a manila-coloured band. Coin a new simile - "like a red rubber band to a bull".

9. Give your child's Barbie or Barbie-style doll a fetching red belt, or a Rambo-style red headband for that matter.

10. Gather them and sell them back to the Royal Mail.


Here is a selection of your comments.

I am surprised that the humanitarian use has not been noted. Red elastic bands make ideal companions for lonely earthworms.
Scott B, Tamworth, Staffs

They make good (but not especially fashionable) substitutes for bicycle clips. Just remember to take them off when you get to work before someone spots the elastic bands round your ankles.
Andy Donovan, Sheffield

Anger management strategy. Put one around your wrist, and snap it to control aggressive outbursts.
Mallory Stone, Reading, UK

Make musical instruments from them. African children are famous for this. A tin can bent in the middle makes a great sound when rubber bands are stretched on it and then plucked.
Kat, Grand Rapids MI USA

I have been building a ball out of Royal Mail rubber bands for three-and-a-half years at work and it is now getting pretty sizable.
Alex Green, Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk

We do have a rubber band ball which is now completely red thanks to posties neglected bands. The thing is, it was started in December of 1989 and a cross section would reveal 20 years of Royal Mail rubber useage.
Robin Seccombe, Bopurnemouth

Everyone knows that an elastic band can be used to keep a crocodile's jaws shut.
Paul, Lincolnshire

What? No catapult? I used to use four thick, office style rubber bands linked together and then tied to the catapult (a piece of wood from a tree) by string or thread.
JP Ward, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands

You can use them for resealing bags of opened dry or frozen food. Slip one of the red devils over the opened bag and there'll be no more frozen peas on the freezer floor or loose rice in the kitchen cupboard.
David L, London, UK

If you want to give them back to the Royal Mail, you will find that they already have a network of handy collection points right across the country. They are usually tall, round, and with a letter-sized slot at the top...
Stuart Conner, Southampton, UK

If you have a jar or bottle with a stubborn screw-off lid that won't budge, wrap a rubber band around the rim of the lid; this allows you to get a good grip - and nine times out of 10 the lid is easily removed. The colour of the band is, of course, immaterial; though being red, they may be easier to find than the boring old brown ones.
J Jopling, Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, UK

I use them to supplement the grip on the 'split hook' of my NHS supplied artificial right arm. The NHS do supply special thick rubber bands, but if you have arthritis in the remaining hand (as I do) the Royal Mail freebies are much easier to use and help me to keep a grip on life.
Dr Robert Mannion, Bournemouth England

I find they are excellent for holding the hamster's water bottle onto the side of her cage. Practical and stylish for your hamster about town.
Jane, Glasgow

Wrap around drinking glasses to prevent slips.
Trevor Bryer, Singapore

My wife sometimes has difficulty turning off the valve on our mixer shower. I have solved the problem by engineering a high visibility, non slip waterproof aid which I have fitted to the mixer valve. Two red rubber bands which I found outside our front door!
Colin Parry, Carnforth

We collect them from our postie and use them in our beehives to hold wild comb onto the frames - it is a well known usage of them in beekeeping and they are always in short supply as they just the right size for the frames.
Keith Williams, Addlestone

If you also find a blue, black, manila and green rubber band you can make your own Olympic logo. Stick this on objects like mugs or pens to make friends jealous or to sell on ebay for a profit.
Athos, London

We use them to secure tissue paper on cleaned heavy horse brasses-we use around 50 for each turnout show, easy to find on the ground (manila are hard to spot on grass or straw), as they are stripped off at the last moment. The manila ones are still the best for securing the bass (raffia) in the tails, especially on Suffolks though, as they camouflage better.
Yvette Goward, Leicester

Put them in a jar with vinegar and Ribena and tell your friends it's chewy sauerkraut.
Gareth Symons, Mancot Wales

They are great for the rewarding hobby of tie-dying, but leave them place for a unique colourful twist.
Mark Shipley, Morecambe, UK



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