You probably already know the importance of recycling- it reduces waste, conserves resources, saves energy, and helps protect the environment that creates our home Planet Earth. However, what to recycle can sometimes be a hassle: looking at the numbers on the bottom of plastic items, figuring out whether your metal trash should be thrown away or sent to the recycling plant. We’re here to help you figure out at least one item that many people tend to throw away and not think twice about- hangers.
Made in the 1800’s exclusively for protecting the delicate fabrics of women’s skirts, hangers have become an indispensable and innumerable household item. Danny Schraeger, CEO of Mountain Valley Recycling in Tennessee, predicts that most overseas garments coming into the United States are packaged with coat hangers, resulting in an estimated 30 to 40 billion coat hangers being imported each year. With this many hangers stretched end to end, we could create an 8 million mile bridge that could take us far beyond the orbit of the moon!
To make matters worse, a majority of clothes hangers are made from wood, wire, and plastic, making it difficult to determine which type of hanger will be accepted by a recycling plant. Wood hangers are not typically recyclable, because they are usually coated with a shiny varnish that is non-recyclable. Wire hangers, on the other hand, may be accepted no questions asked. However, it is important to check with your local solid waste district to see whether your area does in fact accept all types of metal wire hangers. Plastic hangers are the most difficult to recycle, as they can be made of a blend of many non-recyclable materials such as K-resin and polystyrene. Many of these hangers are also accompanied with a menagerie of other harmful products, including plastic and foam wrappings to help protect more expensive garments.
We’re here to tell you how you can practice the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle, for these difficult-to-handle materials.
The Rey's Team
The Rey's Team is dedicated to garment care,learning about new cleaning methods and all about new textiles used in fashion today. We hope to share some insights into the ever changing world of garment care with you.