Despite common misconceptions, black plastic hangers are recyclable. As a matter of fact, all plastic hangers are recyclable whether they’re black or green or purple; the colour makes no difference!
The misconception that black plastic can’t be recycled stems from the inability of domestic plastic collection facilities to handle it. This is because the traditional optical system used by Material Recycling Facilities (MRF) doesn’t recognise black plastic and therefore can’t sort it.
Best case scenario
Whilst there are options to reuse and recycle plastic hangers from home, passing the responsibility from consumers to retailers is the best option for a more consistent and efficient recycling process.
An ideal solution for retailers is to have a system in place for collecting hanger(s) at the Point-of-Purchase (POP), meaning customers do not take clothes or shoe hangers home with them. This leaves the retailer with full control over the lifecycle of their products.
Closed loop recycling for retail
An efficient retailer closed loop recycling programme will be able to process multiple types of hangers and materials – be they black or coloured. The programme will automatically shred, sort, and wash these materials, and so provide a clean source of recycled material that can be used again and again. Simply put, the output of these “plastic granules” is invaluable. They can be used to manufacture hangers, garden or DIY equipment… The possibilities are endless!
Alternative to POP recycling
If recycling plastic hangers at the retailer POP is not a viable solution, having specified recycling points in stores or car parks might be an alternative option. For instance, Tesco is currently trialling a new recycling scheme for soft plastics in selected stores in the UK.
This system has its limitations, however. Primarily, this is because not all end consumers will use those recycling facilities and – in comparison to POP recycling schemes – the percentage of collection will be greatly reduced.
Advantages of using recycled plastic
Did you know that new plastic creates 3x its own weight in CO2 in the manufacturing process? By implementing a system that uses recycled plastic for hangers, not only will you greatly reduce your energy-consumption, but you’ll help contribute towards a market that helps divert plastic away from landfill and incineration, or ocean plastic (if discarded in the environment irresponsibly).
Given these advantages, it is astounding that currently only 10% of the global production of virgin plastic (about 300 M tonnes) is recycled!
So, why black plastic in particular?
The reason why many clothes and shoe hangers are manufactured in a black colour is because they are made of recycled plastic. Using recycled plastic, rather than creating new plastic, can lead to an 80% reduction in CO₂ emissions compared to using virgin plastic. It’s also a lot cheaper!
This means a simple switch from single use virgin plastic to recycled plastic hangers can both lower costs and greatly reduce your impact on the environment. Black plastic can be recycled and used again, and again, within a retailer closed loop recycling scheme. There is a small reduction in strength each time the plastic is recycled, however this can be corrected by use of additives which ensures the performance of the plastic is kept consistent.
Here at Phineas we pride ourselves in creating footwear hangers from recycled materials that can be further recycled and made into either new hangers or other plastic products. All recycled materials are tested and certified to the European REACH standard for materials compliance.
Find out what’s best for you
Want to find out more about how you can implement a recycled shoe hangers system into your business? Then come and talk to us!
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