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Environmental Protection & Preservation

New Generation of Clothing Hangers to Cut Invisible Waste Stream

Billions of hangers are thrown away by retail clothing, dry-cleaning, and hospitality locations every year, yet this large waste stream goes largely unnoticed. Only 15% of the typical polystyrene or polypropylene hangers are properly recycled. The rest end up in landfills and can leach dangerous chemicals into the ground water such as benzene and bi-phenyl A, a hormone disruptor. Wire hangers clog up recycling systems and do not have enough material to be effectively recycled, particularly if they have any coating on them. Even reusable wooden hangers are rarely recyclable or compostable, due to unidentified varnishes and adhesives, metal components, and the lack of proper collection at the store level.

"Many clothing companies ship their clothing from overseas on plastic and wire hangers," explains Gary Barker, CEO of GreenHeart Global which designs Ditto Hangers. "Once the item sells, the hanger is disposed. So a hanger with a useful life of a week to a couple of months ends up in a landfill taking 1000 or more years to degrade. It doesn't make sense."

A new generation of hangers, such as the 100% recyclable PET hanger and 100% paper hanger lines offered by Ditto Hangers, provide a solution to this neglected ecological impact. They are designed with end of useful life in mind. Ecologically minded hangers use materials that are widely accepted by recyclers (such as paper and the PET plastic used for water bottles) and a single-material design.

Ditto Hanger's focus on elegant design also proves again that eco-friendly can be stylish at the same time. Their PET hanger recently won two 1st prizes in the International Design Awards for Sustainable Living/Environmental Preservation and Urban Sustainable Design. A clothing retail location using such distinct hangers can simultaneously reduce their waste stream, visually enhance their displays, and communicate their environmental message directly to their customers.

"Ditto Hangers is committed to make the toxic, wire and plastic invisible hanger visible again, just long enough to make it extinct." Says Barker. "But don't worry: they'll be plenty of them already in landfills for archaeologists to dig up for centuries to come."

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