How to recycle hangers

Filed in Blog, Recycle by on July 14, 2010 24 Comments
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The Stock Exchange in Newent donating hangers

The Stock Exchange in Newent donating hangers

I’m on a decluttering mission and I’m focusing on my wardrobe. On my travels around the drawers, shelves and rails I’ve found numerous hangers I no longer need.

Part of this is because I’m planning, for the first time in my life, a capsule wardrobe!

It all feels terribly grown up, but the reality is I’m an 80/20 woman. No, I’m not talking about Barbie measurements; I am quite sure I wear 20% of my clothes 80% of the time. Everything else ends up in messy piles on top of everything else and to be honest, I’ve had enough of it.
If Gok Wan can do it, then so can I. I’ve been watching some of his programmes where he goes through people’s clothes and designs a complete working wardrobe with just 24 items – it’s inspiring stuff and imagine the amount of time it would take to get ready in the morning. Last year I read that the average woman wastes a year of her life deciding what to wear!

I’m not sure I’ll get to 24 items, but if I get somewhere close I’ll be happy.

The upshot of my recent decluttering is that I’m left with a load of hangers. According to the Daily Green, 8 billion polystyrene and polycarbonate hangers go into our landfills every year so I’ve been looking into ways in which I can keep my own hangers from the landfill and I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Freecycle

I’m sure there will be people who are desperate for hangers. Once upon a time I never had enough and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Charity

Apparently charity shops love them. I’m not sure if this is true but I will make it my business to find out.

Tesco

Tescos have rolled out hanger recycling nationally into all their stores. I’ll be checking mine out to see if they are participating and seeing whether they will only accept their own or if you can take other brands in there too.

Local Shops

Guess what I found this week? Yes, my local shop; The Stock Exchange, where you can take your second hand clothes to sell have a big box of hangers outside their store (picture above); so I’m wondering if I can donate to them in order to give to others.

What about you; are you inundated with hangers? What do you do with them all to keep them out of landfill? And do you always say no to them in the shops when you buy new clothes?

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (24)

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  1. In my experience, most charity shops aren’t interested – they’ve either got their own standard hangers to make the rails look smart or they’re very picky about which hangers they do want and invariably they’re the same ones as I want to keep (eg, the nice sturdy ones without a giant shop label on them).

    Of course there is a strong reduce line here – don’t take them from shops in the first place – but in many places, that just means they’re sending them to landfill instead of you. Flimsy underwear hangers are the worst in my opinion – good for absolutely nothing.

    Glad to hear the Tesco scheme has gone national now – just hope other supermarkets/recycling depots follow suit soon.

  2. Alyssa says:

    Marks and Spencer offer the hanger recycling too…at the end of every till they have a box for all the hangers. I think this is only a recent thing but is part of their Plan A scheme I believe.

  3. Alyssa says:

    By the way, if anyone has any spare hangers going free I will take them off their hands as I am organising an ethical clothes swap event and have lots to hang!

  4. Jane says:

    I always say ‘no’ to hangers and leave them in the shop and I have to say I am used to being asked whether I want the hanger. I take the Dry Cleaners’ (who also wash and iron) metal hangers back to them and have been known to take their safety pins back as well.

  5. Amanda says:

    i have taken them to the local church, they always seem to need them in the coat room
    try the local womens shelter, women starting over need them so the shelter has high turn around of them

    i keep all the metal only ones & take to the scrap yard along with other metal items..make a few dollars (Canada)

  6. Karen says:

    I use my spares including the ones for skirts. I use them for items on my washing line. I have these little plastic things on my washing line that hangers can be hooked in. It means more can be hung on the line. There is less ironing as well. I have a pulley in the garage for wet weather hanging. Using hangers I can hang much more.
    I use skirt hangers for hanging pashminas.
    My local primary school were pleased to get some for their dressing up clothes and school production clothes. The nursery school took the small children’s hangers.
    Anyone who has watched Blue Peter as a child will know what to use metal hangers for !!!

  7. Natasha says:

    I was tickled to find this article on my rss this morning. I’m headed for vacation and getting the house cleaned up bc my plan is to host a garage sale when we get back. I was organizing my closet and I have so many metal hangers from the cleaners. Unfortunetly, I can’t recycle them in our village so I thought to myself: how can I get rid of these responsibily. I can’t consciencely put them in the trash. So, I just shoved in the back of my closet. I like idea of taking back to cleaners. Thanks!

  8. Jannet says:

    I got rid of 2 big bags of coathangers on Freecycle a while ago without any difficulty. One thing I’ve noticed about Freecycle is its always a good idea to re-post items that don’t get any takers a few weeks later as often the response is very different.. I once offered 3 wooden walking sticks and didn’t get one reply. About a month later i osted them again and got about 6 replies!

  9. Condo Blues says:

    A charity shop might take them to either use or sell. I needed hangers and fortunately before I bought them new I stopped to drop off something at a consignment store. Lo and behold they had a ton of used hangers for sale. I bought them all!

  10. Ben says:

    Not being able to throw stuff in the wheelie bin any more does make things harder when you do end up with something that you no longer need. I found charity stores didn’t want to take my coat hangers, and I ended up sticking them in a box at the end of the driveway with a help yourself tag, They all got taken by the end of the day.

  11. Like other posters, I’ve relieved myself of my hangers via Freecycle. New tenants moving into unfurnished accommodation are often very grateful for a bag of them.

    Also the ladies who organized our local Swishing (clothes swapping) event couldn’t stop hugging me when I gave them a ton – they were in dire shortage.

    And yes – simply refusing them at the till when (if!) you buy new clothes solves the problem at source.

    Thanks for a very useful topic.
    Corrina

  12. p.s. Huge congrats on your wardrobe decluttering mission – I wish you all the best with it!

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @Louisa @ RecycleThis: Oh noooo, the underwear hangers; I hate those too and agree, say no at the checkout to hangers…

    @Alyssa: Great to hear about Marks and Spencer recycling hangers too – thank you! Good luck with your event; it sounds like fun!

    @Jane: Good to know that dry cleaners will recycle hangers too. Thanks.

    @Amanda: A women’s shelter is a great idea; thank you Amanda.

    @Karen: WOw, you are organised! What a great idea to hang wet washing on them. Don’t the shoulders dry in a weird shape though or do you only hang skirts and trousers?

    @Natasha: I love it when the right article turns up at the right time. I hope you manage to put your hangers to good use now :) Good luck with the clear out.

    @Jannet: Great tip about Freecycle; it’s all about the right people being connected at the right time. Glad you’ve had so much success :)

    @Condo Blues: Brilliant story – isn’t it great when things turn out so well. One man’s trash and all that …

    @Ben: HA! brilliant! We’ve got rid of things like this too; it’s so simple to do.

    @Corrina Gordon-Barnes: So glad you were able to help out at a swishing event, Corrina. Thanks for the good wishes!

  14. Karen says:

    Tee shirts, nighties etc etc . No funny shoulders. Anything that might be a problem I hang upside down with a skirt hanger. Use shirt hangers for trousers too. I also use 2 of these contraptions with lots of hanging pegs for my smalls. One of them I use to dry my recycled cereal bags after washing. Husband thinks I am daft. I have pointed out how much money I have saved. Can’t remember last time I bought freezer or sandwich bags. I rarely use cling film either.

  15. Mrs Green says:

    @Karen: upside down with a skirt hanger – genius! thank you for sharing your tips!

  16. summer says:

    I love the little underwear hangers as they are just the right size for my little boy’s tshirts and trousers. Hardly take up any room in his wardrobe which is also great!

  17. Cori says:

    Each time I declutter my wardrobe, I always find lots of hangers I don’t need. I usually give them to my friends and neighbours who seems to always need hangers. I also give them to friends who organize every weekends “old” clothes sales in their garage. I never buy hangers, I always get them free from the clothes shops. As we can’t recycle them where I live, most of the time the clothes shops put them in the trash, so I take the hangers when they ask if I want them, for I know that I will always find someone who needs them. I also know people who rent rooms to students, so they are always happy to have some hangers.

  18. Mrs Green says:

    @summer: Oh what a great idea for the little hangers, Summer!

    @Cori: Hi Cori :) It sounds like you have found some happy recipients of all your hangers – great that you have found a solution.

  19. Maritza says:

    People who likes sewing artistical clothing use ┬┤plastic hangers to make the reinforcement on cosets. Often they are used at the theatre to make artistic creations. Is a good idea to phonecall your local theatre and ask them if they need hangers.

  20. Mrs Green says:

    @Maritza: What a brilliant and creative idea – thanks so much Maritza :)

  21. Tea Palais says:

    @Natasha: My cleaners will only take theirs! I must have an accumulation from several dry cleaners over the years.

  22. A useful article thanks – i have tweeted about it in Shropshire so hopefully people will make use of this – i have spotted a hanger recycling bin in Tesco in Shrewsbury

  23. Jane says:

    I also use some to finish drying damp clothing eg t-shirts on – avoiding having to iron! Don’t forget that reuse is better than recycling and that avoiding unnecessary ones is best of all!

  24. Monica says:

    Just to update you- Tesco are no longer running their hanger recycling scheme. You can hand in old Tesco hangers to their clothing department for reuse, but they no longer have the bins for public donations of mixed hangers.( Interesting how they didn’t publicise the end of the scheme! ) M $ S , Sainsburys and Next only take back their own hangers. Very few councils have schemes to recycle hangers- Midlothian do, and some will recycle the metal ones. Most charity shops are not keen on getting hangers, unless they are good ones. Drycleaners will take back hangers( metal) but often only their own. Local ironing services are often on the lookout for hangers, and schools etc can find them useful for costumes . I think the real scandal is that most Councils don’t recycle them- they are the end point and there must be millions of hangers that go to landfill. I work in a charity shop and I see hundreds pass through our doors…. There is one place in Cheshire that recycle hangers (3000recycle I think,) and you can send hangers to them, but they’re the only ones I’ve heard mention of. I’m going to check it out further with our local council. Of course, there is always freecycle too. Hope this helps!

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