EcoHangers: An Earth-Friendly
Alternative to Wire Hangers
By Sari Conway



For the millions of men and women in the United States who make a weekly trip to the dry cleaner, wire hangers represent nothing more than a hassle. They accumulate in our closets and tangle together until the time comes to gather them up and throw them out. But many people donít realize that throwing out a mass of metal hangers every few months puts a significant strain on our environment, adding tons of non-biodegradable waste to U.S. landfills. Each year, more than 3.5 billion wire hangers are discarded in the United States alone. This waste represents 195 million pounds of steel per year; the equivalent of 60,000 cars.

There have been half-hearted attempts in the past to curb wire hanger waste, such as bringing hangers back to the dry cleaner for re-use. But these programs are not embraced by many dry cleaners, and customers do not often participate because of the time and energy involved with collecting hangers and returning them to the shops. We are meeting more and more people who want to live a greener lifestyle, but simply wonít participate in programs that make it too inconvenient or too complicated to do so. Thus the wire hanger, without a feasible alternative had become an unavoidable environmental drain.

In 2004, our founder JD Schulman created Hanger Network in order to provide a unique and simple solution to the environmental hazard of wire hangers. Our flagship product, the EcoHangerô is a biodegradable shirt hanger made of 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard that is distributed to dry cleaners around the country. It is truly a unique product because it appeals to customers, dry-cleaning businesses, and large brands that are looking to do something good for the earth.

Dry-cleaning customers like EcoHangers because they easily allow environmentally-conscious households to produce less wire waste. They are also sturdy and durable, less likely to tangle at the hooks. Customers like that some EcoHangers offer cut-out coupons and samples of new products like deodorant and lotion.

EcoHangers also allow corportions to become involved in supporting the environment in a way which helps their business. Each EcoHanger displays full-color advertising messages on both sides, mostly for products that resonate with consumers in the morning.

Popular brands like LíOreal, Dunkin Donuts and Revlon have started to display their messages on EcoHangers, because they provide direct access to potential customers in their own homes during the morning routine.

The fact that these brands have chosen to support earth-friendly goods is also evident to potential customers. Because EcoHangers are supported by global brands, they are offered to participating dry cleaners free-of-charge.

Deciding to live a more earth-conscious existence is something many individuals and businesses have become actively involved in. The small decisions we make each day, like choosing to drop a Coke can into a blue recycling bin or opting to use a dry cleaner that participates in the EcoHanger program, can really lessen the burden on landfills and help us keep our environment clean for future generations.

We hope that through our product we can take this pollutant out of circulation one hanger at a time.

Bob Kantor is CEO of Hanger Network, an innovative in-home media company based in New York.

Return to the March/April Index page