Elastic

Could you test elastic for us frustrated users.

Once elastic lasted for years and kept its rebound quality. Now the elastic in undergarments etc fails before the material does. Replacement elastic also does not last. Can you find a replacement elastic that actually works long term? This problem applies to all types of elastic, including the ones you can’t actually remove and replace. It is an environmental problem as we are discarding perfectly good garments because we can’t repair them.

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It might be difficult in a garment as each brand will potentially use different ones, and types used may change over time.

Anecdotal, something I have noticed is most modern elastics need to be used (stretched and/worn) to keep the elastic supple. I bought a pack of 7 undies, and didn’t realise one had fallen down the back of the drawers. The one which disappeared and not used or a number if years, the elastic had become brittle and cracked when pulled. The others which were worn regularly were still flexible and usable.

Maybe Choice could provide general advice on how to keep elastic supple over time, rather than doing a test per say.

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Apart from use as rightly @phb noted, there are also environmental factors on how well elastic survives. Elastic looses its stretch to a greater degree if exposed to cold. In warm climes it remains more supple. Dryness and humidity are also factors.

I suspect that the real problem is not in the elastic per se. It is in the quantity and quality of the elastic used. When I look at elastic in say undies, the elastic is very thin and spaced out across the band. When we buy replacement elastic we buy denser elastic thread (the elastic is closer together across the band) that holds much better and much longer.

So I think that like everything else, manufacturers are just making every effort to save money on every component.

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There is no doubt in my mind that elastic is not of the same quality that elastic of years gone-bye had. My guess is that modern elastic is made from a plastic material whereas, in the past, it was made from rubber.

That some items from yesteryear last longer is often a shared memory. Synthetic elastomers (used in elastic) have been around for longer than we can imagine.

The materials science, and personal experience in industrial use is synthetic rubbers outlast and out perform natural rubber compounds in most applications.
Wikipedia tends to agree,

Synthetic rubbers are superior to natural rubbers in two major respects, thermal stability and resistance to oils and related compounds.[2] They are more resistant to oxidizing agents for example, such as oxygen and ozone which can reduce the life of products like tires.

There is the prior suggestion it is not the absence of natural rubber that is the cause of product issues. The alternative is that less of the elastic synthetic and synthetic product produced to a lesser quality all in the name of saving cents are the cause.

The greater benefit to business is convincing us being fashionable is cheap, and that keeping up has never been more affordable. Those of us after longer lasting value are a secondary market. The preferences of two thirds of our now grown up children are evidence of how it is.

Whether the premium for Bonds and selected others vs some store brands is worthwhile, it is often necessary to pay substantially more to get a longer lasting product, IME.

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