We have talked about plastic coat hangers before and I try to buy unhung clothes whenever possible. However that is not always an option. This company are promoting a solution; a fibre board biodegradable hanger and a campaign against the plastic hanger . Here is their promotional material
Plastic hanger facts
Approximately 85% of plastic retail hangers no reused or recycled
90% of America’s clothes now imported
30-40 billion clothes come into the United States on plastic hangers
85% of 30-40 billion is 25. > 34 billion hangers into landfills every year.
34 billion landfilled hangers would fill almost 20 Empire State Buildings
40 billion hangers end to end would stretch 8 million miles, far beyond the orbit of the moon—every year.
Polystyrene hangers off-gas benzene in clothing and leaches benzene into the ground water.
Polycarbonate hangers leach bisphenol-a into ground water.
Plastic hangers take over 1,000 years to break down in an anerobic landfill. All for a one-time use.
Why so many hangers?
Growing industry trend of one-use plastic hangers
Garments on Hangers (GOH) – hangers are put on clothing overseas by clothing manufacturer and shipped to store already on hanger
Each hanger is one-use and garment replacing sold product has it’s own hanger.
Hanger is now outsourced to clothing manufacturer who includes the price of the hanger into their Cost of Goods (COG)
Its cheaper for the clothing retailer to use one-use hangers but plastic is a poor material to make any product that is one-use, especially one with so much plastic in it.
Companies who use Garment on Hangers are Wal-Mart, Old Navy, C&A, Target, Kmart, Coles and most department stores.
Aren’t plastic hangers recyclable?
Cheaper to landfill than to recycle
Cheaper to make new plastic hangers than recycle
Multiple materials (metal hook and clips, rubber or vinyl no-slip pads, 7 different types of plastic) make recycling impractical if not impossible.
Where do plastic hangers go if I don’t take them after I buy clothing? Answer: in a box under the counter then out to the back.
How much waste per store?
One clothing company’s flagship store in San Francisco that uses the GOH system said
They throw away approximately 95% of their plastic hangers every day.
They replace from 8,000 to 28,000 garments everyday
That means they throw away from 7,600 to 26,600 hangers every day.
Why do companies that say they are green use such a wasteful system where up to 19.5 Empire State Buildings of plastic hangers landfilled?
Because hangers are invisible to the consumer
The wire hanger was patented in 1890
The plastic retail hanger was invented in the 60’s
There’s been no innovation, so the hangers have become invisible
They are so prevalent that no one sees them anymore
Hanger companies and retail clothing companies are very quiet about this extreme waste stream
Hanger companies stay in business
Retailers save by using one-use GOH plastic hangers
What’s the solution?
Tell your local retailer that you do not like plastic hangers in stores that you buy at.
that up to 34 billion of those plastic retail hangers go into your municipal landfill.
that they are not green if they use plastic hangers – even recycled plastic hangers.
Tell them that 85% of all plastic hangers end up in landfills.
Tell them to use a sustainable material such as paper fiberboard hangers that can be recycled at the store or at consumer curbside pickups
Join the Anti Plastic Hanger Movement and stop the 36 billion plastic hangers that get thrown into local landfills everyyear to save retail companies money!
You can see all our posts on clothing, fabrics and the plastic-free wardrobe here.