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 couldtake 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 nonrecyclable. 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
nonrecyclable 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.
1. Leave your hangers at your local dry cleaners when you drop off and pick up your clothing. They can reuse them for other garments and usually have a method of recycling them.
2. Make sure not to accept hangers when you pick up your clothing. Instead, leave them at your dry cleaners and use the one’s you already own at home
3. While wood hangers are not typically recyclable, they usually are combined with metal wire frames that an be recycled. The remaining wood can be used for many things, including door stops, paper weights, and even art!
4. Give up hangers to local thrift stores, as they have a large influx of used clothing that need
hangers. This helps them refrain from buying new ones and compounding the recycling problem.
5. If possible, check which materials are used on plastic hangers that you buy, and try to refrain
from buying ones made from K-resin and polystyrene.
And most important of all, entrust us with your clothing and leave your hangers at Rey’s! We understand the importance of a green earth, and want to help you keep it that way by reusing and recycling old hangers that you bring in. We’ll help you help us Go Green!