On the 1st of May 2019, the UK government became the first in the world to declare a climate emergency signalling that it’s time to act fast if we intend to save the planet. One of the key ways we can do this is by buying and selling sustainably. Organisations and enterprises have the power (and a duty!) to reduce their environmental impact and help to address climate issues in their communities.
Currently, only 10% of the global production of virgin plastic (about 300 million tonnes) is recycled. This is both sad and shocking, especially given the variety and abundance of recycled materials and processes. Hence, there is a growing pressure on global retailers to take responsibility for their impact on the planet; becoming part of the solution, rather than adding to the problem.
Seeking out sustainable suppliers for retailers
In light of this, a vast number of stores are now seeking out suppliers who can provide staple products that are sourced from recycled materials, and can be reused and/or recycled further to help limit global wastage.
Not only is this good for the planet, but it can also help significantly reduce costs too, and will reassure your climate-conscious consumers that your brand is worth their investment.
How can you be sustainable when sourcing shoe hangers?
There’s no denying the huge variety of things to bear in mind when sourcing sustainable packaging and materials for retail. However, it is often the smallest item/process change that can make the biggest difference.
With this in mind, we provide our top 5 sustainable tips when sourcing shoe hangers for your store or brand:
1. Examine the manufacturing process and product quality
It is paramount that your shoe hanger supplier has processes that align with your company values and goals. There is no point sourcing a hanger made of recycled plastic if the manufacturing process isn’t energy efficient, or the end quality is poor. To ensure the product meets acceptable standards of compliance, check they are tested and certified to REACH standard. To ensure your supply chain is ethically audited, ensure your supplier has a membership with an organisation such as Sedex.
2. Carefully consider the hanger colour and design
Did you know that if you desire a coloured hanger, then – more often than not – this will need to be made from Virgin material?! However, if you are happy with a dark-coloured/ black hanger, than these can be made from recycled materials facilitating an 80% reduction in CO2 during the manufacturing process. Hence, retailers have an active and important role to play when sourcing shoe hangers (or similar) for their stores.
The same is true of shoe hanger design. Many retailers make the mistake of over / under-sizing their shoe hangers. This can result in additional costs for both manufacturing and transport and can have implications both financially and environmentally. This is where a footwear hanger specialist can be invaluable, see why in the hanger guide below:
Furthermore, high-quality products break less easily whereas poorly designed hangers can damage the shoes and could end up being sold off as “seconds”.
3. Plan for the end of the product’s life
A hanger has the potential to have multiple life cycles… It just depends on how the material is sourced, and what happens to the product at the end of its life. Retailers have different options when considering a hanger’s end of life. For example:
The customer takes the hanger home
A closed loop recycling scheme
A reuse scheme
Our recommendation would be for retailers to collect hangers at the Point-of-Purchase (POP) so customers don’t take them home with them. From there, this enables the retailer to have control over what happens next. You can read more in our ‘Are black plastic hangers recyclable’ blog here or send us a message.
4. Have a system in place to prevent counterfeit products
Watch out for counterfeit products – even footwear hangers are copied! Opting in favour of these fakes is a risk as their supply chain is uncontrolled and doesn’t tend to be monitored.
A good hanger supplier will work closely with you to establish a process for minimising counterfeit product in store and will provide guidance and support to help ensure your product is sourced both ethically and sustainably.
5. Material alternatives are available
There are options on the market. For example, lightweight footwear such as slippers and flip-flops can be hung on cardboard hangers. This is a great option as shoppers can easily recycle cardboard at home using their domestic recycling collections. However, care should be taken to ensure the strength is sufficient and the cardboard is sourced sustainably.