Dubbed “the plastic straw of fashion”, plastic hangers have had a devastating impact on the industry’s carbon footprint. Humans produce roughly 300 billion kilograms of plastic per year and despite efforts to use less single use plastic, there is a long way to go. The main question regarding plastic hangers is, are they necessary?
Most of the time, they are used to prevent creases as items are delivered from warehouses to individual stores. Hangers used for this transportation are usually flimsy, weak and more often than not, stores exchange these cheap looking hangers for wooden ones to create a nice display. Thus, it’s guessed that there are billions of hangers being chucked away every year, most of which are thrown away before item in question is even hung up in stores.
These single use hangers are usually made with expanded polystyrene, or polycarbonate. Not only does this mean that they depend on fossil fuels, but also that they take anywhere between 800 and 1,000 years to breakdown. Said in this way, this practise is utterly bizarre; but what can we do?
The enormity of the fashion industry’s plastic predicament does mean that one company cannot change for all, but like all bad habits, we have to start somewhere. Other companies have taken a stand and we are too. We would rather have a little creased fabric here and there than contribute to the 85% of hangers that end up in landfill. The answer is flat packed items. We at BRGN are lucky, as generally our fabrics, despite creasing, do not need to be hung to survive the travel to stores. Therefore, we have decided that to maintain our responsibility as a sustainable company, we cannot participate in the use of cheap, single use hangers.
Friends of the Earth strive for a cleaner planet and more sustainable practise in business. They said: “The first question the clothing industry should be asking is does the product actually need a hanger - and if so, why can’t it be reused? It’s time to end throwaway culture.” We agree wholeheartedly.