Durability, surf and old bike tires, and what connects them all

At first glance it might seem like a love for sustainability, riding a bike and having your tie fall off in the waves have nothing in common.

But, as couple Jessie Alice and Adam Hough discovered by chance one day in a beach parking lot, recycled hair ties might be the only thing that ties them all together.

Jessie and Adam met at a dinner hosted by the community to raise awareness about food waste.
Both passionate about sustainability and the outdoors, they felt an instant connection.

Now, seven years later, they live in Bellbrae with their adopted dog Yanni, refurbish their van and run a sustainable hair tie business.

Adam is a keen cyclist and works as a bike mechanic in Torquay and Jessie loves to surf and works full time at their business, Eco Hair Ties.

Jessie said that as a company, her goal is to normalize recycling and create a circular, eco-friendly business model.

“It all started in the Point Impossible car park. I was about to paddle in the waves but didn’t have a hair tie so Adam, he has an engineering mind and is very practical and pragmatic, threw himself into the back of our van and got a bike inner tube and cut out a tie for me,” Jessie said.

“And it really worked! It held my hair back the whole surf and I had never had that before.

With Adam working in the bicycle industry, he saw firsthand the vast amount of rubber waste.

Tires can be reused, but inner tubes are a totally different material and they’re more likely to go to landfill,” Jessie said.

“Being really interested in sustainability, we thought ‘what can we do with that?’ So we kept working on these hair ties and thought “how can we make perfect hair ties that can use this waste rubber and still make sure it’s a product that doesn’t damage the planet or anyone’s hair?”.

“So the two worked together to design a hair tie that could use waste bicycle inner tubes.

The eco-friendly hair ties are made from recycled inner tubes from Victorian bicycle manufacturers. Photos: ZOE STRAPP

“It wasn’t until July 2021 that we found that perfect product and launched Eco Hair Ties.

“It does what it says, it doesn’t hurt your hair and it doesn’t hurt our planet. We source our materials from a dozen bike shops all over Victoria…we haven’t come across a shop yet. of bikes who wouldn’t give us their inner tubes – they recognize that there is a waste problem.

Eco-friendly hair ties are eco-friendly, plastic-free, zero-waste, and long-lasting.

“It’s a very, very good product for surfers and divers because they can use our product when they’re surfing or diving and it doesn’t fall out of their hair or damage their hair, so that’s a real win,” Jessie said.

She said that while their focus for now is hair ties, the sustainability mission is something they hope everyone embraces.

Eco Hair Ties are eco-friendly, plastic-free, zero-waste hair ties and sustainable hair accessories made from reused bicycle inner tubes. Photo: Zoe Strapp

“We only do hair ties, and it’s only a small change we can make, but it’s part of a bigger message that says what else? What else can we do?

“And, hey, if we can turn a piece of trash like an inner tube into something valuable, then imagine what else we can do with all the other trash in the world. It familiarizes people and normalizes upcycling. , that’s not a bad word.

Jessie said some customers find recycling less appealing than buying something new, but the couple have embraced it as a challenge to educate and raise awareness about sustainable practices.

“I want to be able to normalize this stuff. I want to walk into a surf shop, a green grocer and see our product on the shelf and see that it’s just the natural thing that people are looking for when they think of hair ties,” she said.

Looking to the future, Jessie and Adam expand the business.

Eco-friendly hair ties are designed to stay in place during surfing, diving and ocean activity. Photos: ZOE STRAPP

They have recently outsourced manufacturing locally and plan to run their headquarters from their soon to be fitted out van.
The couple plan to sail up the east coast and supply products to surf and dive shops along the way.

“We want to surf with our customers and our retailers. It’s not just walking into the store, it’s being in the world with them.

Learn more about eco hair ties at www.ecohairties.com.au or Instagram @ecohairties.

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