Blog: Leonie BarrieUnhooking the hanger problem

Leonie Barrie | 13 September 2007

Saving a few garment hangers might not seem like a big step towards saving the planet, but the cumulative benefits are significant believes M&S. Its research suggests that the average Briton has 67 coat hangers and that almost a fifth (18%) of these aren’t used. Multiply this by the country’s population, and it equates to around 530m or almost 17,000 tonnes of unwanted coat hangers stashed away in UK homes. The retailer now proposes to reform damaged hangers into new ones, while intact coat hangers will be shipped back to M&S garment manufacturers in Europe to be reused.

Recycling coat hangers instead of binning them might be something we can all do to help reduce our environmental impact, but along with ideas such as switching to energy efficient light bulbs or taking fewer baths I wonder if such a small step will have as big an impact as we’re told. And it’s a shame the coat hanger amnesty is just taking place for two days later this month; hardly time to make a real impact.

Most tellingly, M&S admitted yesterday that if it wasn’t ‘back freighting’ hangers back to its factories, containers would be returning back to their destination empty as they were doing before, with all the unnecessary fuel consumption and carbon emissions this entails. Surely this isn’t good news for its green business credentials. 

M&S to trial coat hanger amnesty


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