May 17, 2019

Can you recycle coat hangers?

Words by Sarah Welsh

The wire coat hanger was first patented in 1890, with its plastic counterpart invented in the 1960s. Since then, there’s been very little innovation so, much like the humble paperclip or elastic band, they’re now so taken for granted that they may as well be invisible.

But the impact of coat hangers on the environment isn’t so insignificant. Research suggests Britain has 540 million surplus hangers, weighing 17,000 tonnes. It’s also estimated that as many as 100 million a year are thrown away just in the UK. Unsurprisingly, most people don’t know if they can recycle hangers.

Coat hangers are embedded into our fashion industry with many clothes arriving at stores as “garment on hangers,” ready to be unpacked and put straight out for display. And with the impact of fast fashion on the environment such a hot topic in recent years, we’re committed to doing what we can to make it easier for businesses to be more sustainable.

But can you recycle coat hangers? Thankfully, the answer is yes!

First Mile is excited to be launching our very own coat hanger recycling service, making it easy for sustainability-savvy retailers to recycle their used or unwanted hangers.

The coat hangers we collect are sorted at our award-winning facility, the Sacktory®, and then forwarded to our recycling partner, Endurmeta, where they are shredded and granulated, with the separated plastic and metal then sent for reuse and repurposing.

In the meantime, what can we all do to tackle hanger waste?

  • Offer hangers you don’t use or want to charity shops or to your local community via free sites
  • If you don’t need a hanger when you’re buying clothes, tell the retailer you don’t want it and leave it in the store
  • Some retailers offer collection bins for unwanted hangers, so you can “drop before you shop”
  • If you need coat hangers at home, consider investing in wood or strong cardboard ones that are more sustainable

Now that you know how to recycle hangers, find out more about our coat hanger recycling service or get in touch to get a quote: customers@thefirstmile.co.uk

By Sarah Welsh

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