Recycling company First Mile has launched a new coat hanger recycling service aimed at tackling the millions of hangers that end up in UK landfill sites every year – with the UK operations of major fashion retailer Inditex (including Zara) already signed up.
According to First Mile, research suggests that Britain has 540m surplus hangers, weighing 17,000 tonnes, and that as many as 100m are thrown away each year.
“Clothing items are often imported with the hangers to allow retailers to quickly and effectively display their goods,” the company explains. “However, they are designed to be a single-use item, with their quality reflecting this. Plastic hangers with metal hooks aren’t necessarily complicated products, but they require specialist recycling to split and shred the materials, which is currently not a service typically offered by the waste industry.”
Its new service aims to provide fashion and retail businesses an easy and effective way to recycle their hangers – which will be processed by First Mile’s recycling partner, Endurmeta, where they will be shredded and granulated and then sent for reuse and repurposing within the manufacturing industry.
“The impact of fashion on the environment has been a hot topic in recent months, and we’re committed to doing what we can to make it easier for businesses to be more sustainable,” says First Mile’s founder and CEO, Bruce Bratley. “It’s great that many retailers want to recycle coat hangers, with many also operating schemes where customers can bring them in to be recycled. By working with us, these companies can ensure that these hangers are recycled effectively, fulfilling their good intentions and those of their customers.”
The company recently partnered with US apparel giant Ralph Lauren on the retailer’s new polo shirt made from recycled plastic bottles. Crafted from yarns derived entirely from recycled plastic bottles, the company’s new Earth Polo is made from an average of 12 plastic bottles and was produced in partnership with First Mile. In addition, the company has also worked with Puma on new sustainable sportswear collection called PUMA x First Mile.