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What’s the problem?
The sad reality is that 85% of hangers end their life in landfill. In the US, everyday over 15.5 million plastic, wood and wire hangers are thrown away, resulting in 8 billions every year. In the UK 100 million Plastic Hangers are discarded each year. So, what is the industry doing about it?
Brands are starting to get to grips with this challenge and are looking at ways of replacing hangers, particularly those pesky plastic ‘garments on hangers’ otherwise known as GOH (garments transported on hangers from factory to store) that are made from plastic and represent a huge part of the overall volume of hangers discarded each year.
Made predominantly from expanded polystyrene, or polycarbonate, plastic hangers not only depend on fossil fuels for their raw material and production but take an estimated 800-1,000 years to breakdown. They also leach nasty chemicals including carcinogenic benzene, found in polystyrene and Bisphenol-A, a hormone disrupter, into groundwater. They can also cause havoc for wildlife; with animals getting hangers caught around their necks, legs and wings.
Plastic waste is pants
Removing hangers should always be the first step. Does underwear need to come on Plastic Clothes Hangers? Customers don’t think so, going by some tweets that made the headlines in the UK. After receiving underwear in the post from British retailer Marks & Spencer, one customer exclaimed “What on earth is anyone supposed to do with these?” while another said “Just had some undies delivered and each one came on an unnecessary, plastic, individual hanger. Lovely items, but when will you stop this wasteful practice?”.