Reasons to say good-bye to wire hangers:
- The wire tip gets caught and snags clothing
- They make annoying creases in your clothing
- Rust over time and staining clothes is seen (I’ve seen it happen)
- They don’t hold their shape for long and clothes sag on the hanger
- They don’t look good! (yes, aesthetics are important.)
There are specific ways to recycle wire hangers from the dry cleaner.
The hooks and shape of wire hangers cause them to get caught on recycling equipment, causing massive damage to the system. Therefore, they cannot be processed in most single stream (general curbside) recycling bins, but that does not mean they can’t be recycled. You will need to take wire hangers to a scrap metal recycler who specializes in all types of metal, not just tin and aluminum cans. Dry cleaners may accept them back as donations. Find out who recycles wire hangers near you at: http://earth911.com/
What about other types of hangers?
Whether they are the common plastic “tube” hangers or the plastic/metal type used in department stores, plastic hangers are nearly impossible to recycle. At this time only plastic bottles, tubs, and jugs can be recycled in the single stream, so do not put plastic hangers of any kind in your curbside recycle bin. Here’s a prevention tip:
If the store leaves a hanger on a piece of clothing you are buying, ask them to remove and keep it.
They’ll likely reuse it for other clothing and you won’t have to deal with it. Some thrift stores accept plastic hangers they can bundle and sell, or to hang clothing in their store. You may also have luck giving them away on Freecycle or Craigslist.
Wood hangers are not recyclable. The wood is treated with varnish or other types of finish, resulting in a non-recyclable product. Consider donating unwanted hangers to charities with lots of jackets, as wooden hangers ideal for these types of heavy material. You can also give them away on Freecycle or Craigslist.
If you cannot find a reuse options or if your hangers are broken, put them in the garbage can. They cannot be recycled in your curbside (single stream) recycle bin, because they will damage recycling machinery…and that in time may result in an increase of your garbage/recycling pick-up bill.
Isabella Guajardo, founder and owner of Bella Organizing, is a San Francisco Bay Area professional organizer offering home organizing, interior redesign, and residential move management services throughout the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Call (510) 229-7321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Gift certificates are available.
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