Redesign for Sustainability: Recycled and Recyclable Hangers
Here is a small reminder that we really need to redesign everything about modern life, from the smallest, least noticed items on up. Who thinks about 8 - 10 billion polystyrene or polycarbonate hangers manufactured per year, of which only about 15% are recycled?
Green Heart Global, the parent company and designer of Ditto Hangers, that's who. Green Heart Global offers two options, both made from recyclable materials.One option is the paper hanger. According to the manufacturers: "Ditto Paper Hangers are made of between 80-100% post-consumer waste (PCW) with vegetable inks and environmentally friendly adhesives. The patented hangers feature a large area for client branding, are easily recycled at the store level and clearly and directly promote the client’s environmental message." For short turn-around applications like product shipping, and for dry cleaners, the Ditto Paper Hangers are ideal.
The more durable option is a PET plastic hanger. PET is the plastic numbered "1" for recycling. It is commonly collected and easily recycled. We are a bit suspicious, because Ditto is not claiming to use post-consumer PET as a raw material. Certainly in non-food contact, low tech applications like hangers, there is no excuse to use a single ounce of virgin PET in the process. Nonetheless, the resulting product is easily recyclable and the design lends itself to a perfect closed-loop situation, where old hangers are returned to be resold if condition allows or recycled into new hangers otherwise.
A large San Francisco based clothing company, Reebok/Canada and Adidas/Germany count among the customers for Ditto Hangers. Ditto works with companies to meet special needs such as hockey equipment hangers or wide-shoulder paper hangers.
CEO and founder Gary Barker says: "We've found that companies are coming to us to design not only hangers but other products that use sustainable materials and that can be produced in our certified contracted factories. We see a huge market creating beautiful products that are intelligently designed so that their end-of-life is engineered into the product. We don't see consumption going down any time soon. That means it's up to the industrial designer to design products responsibly. I don't know of any other company out there doing what we do."