Plastic, Wire, or Wooden Hangers? An Eco-Fashionista’s Guide
Every year, clothing and hangers make up a huge amount of landfill waste in the United States. Each year, Americans buy and discard 14 million tons of clothing, much of it ending up in landfills that further pollute the environment.
There are lots of reasons that 17 million tons of textile waste went to landfills in 2018. One of them is our over-reliance on fast fashion. Americans often buy these trendy, poorly-made items, only to discard them soon after they fall out of fashion.
Other garments may have to be discarded after wearers take poor care of them. No matter how expensive or well-made the item, it will not last if it is not stored or hung properly. That’s one of the problems with plastic or wire hangers: they make clothes unwearable. These hangers are also made of unsustainable materials, as well.
If you’re concerned about the environment, choosing an eco-friendly hanger can make a difference. Read on to learn more.
The Environmental Impact of Closet Hangers
Many people are familiar with the impact of plastic straws, but fewer consider the impact of plastic hangers. Years ago, many restaurant and beverage shops stopped using plastic straws to combat the environmental impact of plastic. But many retailers and individuals still opt for plastic hangers.
What’s particularly disturbing is just how many plastic hangers are wasted. Forbes estimates that of the 150 billion garments produced each year, two-thirds are moved from the factory to the store on polystyrene plastic hangers – one of the types of plastics least likely to be recycled. These hangers aren’t even used in stores; instead, they are replaced with branded in-store hangers that may or may not also be made of plastic.
A myth about plastic is that it is easily recycled. This isn’t the case. Instead, each year, more than 10 billion plastic hangers are produced – but only 15 percent are ever recycled.
Wire hangers are equally ubiquitous but just as infrequently recycled. Most recycling centers won’t accept wire hangers because of their shape.
“Most recycling machinery is not equipped to handle the material and shape of a wire hanger, so recycling options can be slim,” notes Greenmatters.
If you want to recycle your wire hangers, then, you will have to search for a scrap metal recycling plant or try to return to them a local dry cleaner.
How Your Hanger Choice Impacts Your Budget
If your closet is full of high-end items, you might be tempted to save in purchasing plastic or wire hangers. But when it’s time to replace your cheap hangers, consider how the so-called “affordability” of these hangers isn’t really quite so inexpensive.
If you purchase or use cheap hangers, your clothing won’t last as long as it could. Wire hangers can snare onto delicate items, causing rips, and the sharp edges can put permanent creases into the shoulders of your garments. Finding the right dress hangers is especially important. Plastic hangers aren’t strong enough to keep structured garments, especially jackets or coats with rigid shoulders, intact.
So, if you store your clothing on plastic or wire hangers, you’re not only contributing to an unsustainable production cycle, but you’re also ruining your clothing. Then, you’ll compound the eco problems by giving away clothing that you could have worn longer if you had cared for it properly.
Comparing the Pros and Cons of Different Hangers
- Affordable and can be purchased almost anywhere
- Varying sizes and colors
- Flimsy enough to ruin garments’ shape
- Easily broken
- Difficult to recycle
- Looks cheap
- Inexpensive and common
- Can be creatively recycled, like into children’s projects
- Lose shape over time
- Add dents or snags to clothing
- Too light to hold up to heavy garments
- Sturdy enough to hold up to heavy fabrics
- Ensures clothing will hold its shape
- Attractive in your closet
- They tend to cost more upfront than other options
Why We Recommend Wooden Hangers
Solid wood hangers are more environmentally friendly than wire or plastic for many reasons. For one, they are made from natural materials, so their production doesn’t harm the environment.
What’s more, forest production companies promote a sustainable lifecycle of harvested forests:
“Forest products companies are in the business of growing and harvesting trees, so reforestation is important to them. In fact, three-quarters of all the trees planted in America last year were planted by forest products companies and private timberland owners. And logging companies pay a special fee to fund for replanting and reforestation when they buy the right to harvest a section of timber on state or national forests,” explains Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc.
Wooden hangers are also the only hangers that will last for years and years without sagging or bending. This, in turn, means that you don’t have to replace them as often as you otherwise would. These sturdy hangers also provide a solid foundation for your clothing, meaning that you’ll extend the wearability of your garments.
“[Wood hangers] may be more expensive than wire and plastic, but the durability of wood will pay off in the long term. Rather than replacing hangers when they get bent out of shape, you should use one that will last a much longer time,” Hangorize notes.
Top Vendors for Quality Wooden Hangers
Butler Luxury produces the only hangers on the market designed to look as good as the clothes on them. Made from solid wood like Grade A Rosewood and Grade A Beechwood, each wooden hanger is designed to support and preserve the life of a specific garment. For instance, if you want to hang suits, you can choose wooden suit hangers; dresses deserve dress hangers.
What’s more, once you stock your closet with quality wood suit hangers, you aren’t going to need to replace them – or your clothes. Wooden hangers may be more costly in the short term, but their long-term impact on sustainability and the longevity of your clothing will pay dividends!
Written by: Mike Cregan
20 years ago Mike Cregan embarked on a mission to create a state of the art hanger. His passion drove him to open Butler Luxury, an online store featuring luxury hangers for the discerning fashion enthusiast.
Mike’s hangers feature a highly-functional yet beautiful aesthetic, built from the finest wood products. These sturdy accessories include solutions for suits, shirts, pants, and skirts.
Butler Luxury’s hangers enjoy a high-end clientele, including top designer brands, tailoring houses on Savile Row, and 5-star hotels such as The Dorchester, Claridge’s, The Connaught, and The Savoy.
For the first time since their founding many years ago, Butler Luxury is offering their luxury hanger inventory directly to the public. Explore their collection today at www.butlerluxury.com.