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Are Plastic Hangers Recyclable? How Do You Dispose of Them?

colorful plastic hangers

Every time you buy new clothes, you probably bring new plastic hangers home. They keep adding up, and they’ll often last longer than the clothes themselves. But what can you do with this overflowing collection of hangers?

You don’t want to send them to a landfill, but can you actually recycle them? The truth is that it’s not easy to recycle plastic hangers, and you’ll need to do a little more homework before sending them off and hoping for the best.

We’ll break down everything you need to know here, including what you can do with them if you can’t recycle them but don’t want to throw them in the trash.

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Are Plastic Hangers Recyclable?

While it might be possible for you to recycle plastic hangers, you typically can’t. There are a few different things that make it difficult to recycle them.

First, most plastic hangers don’t come with a recycling number printed on them. That’s problematic because plastic hangers can either use a 6 or 7 recycling number, and the process is different for each.

Moreover, most plastic hangers use polystyrene, which is also known as Styrofoam. Many recycling facilities can’t process Styrofoam, so you need to check with your local recycling plant before sending them hangers.

But if your plastic hangers have the recycling number printed on them and your local recycling facility can handle them, then you can recycle your plastic hangers. If not, you need to look into other ways of disposing of them.

colorful plastic hangers
Image Credit: All About Space, Shutterstock

Other Ways to Dispose of Plastic Hangers

While you can always throw plastic hangers in the trash, that will send them to a landfill where they’ll sit for hundreds of years. But if you can’t recycle the plastic hangers, what other options do you have?

Return Them

If you reach out to your local clothing department store, they might take your extra plastic hangers off your hands. They need plenty of them for their store, and they’re almost always watching them walk out the door with each customer.

Since the department store needs to purchase these items regularly, there’s a good chance they’ll take your donations and save themselves a little money.

If you can’t find a department store to take your old plastic hangers, you might have good luck with a goodwill or consignment shop. Moreover, you can try to track down an individual who might want and need them.

Social media can be a great way to connect you to these people, but it’s really up to you how you want to try and track them down. Finding someone else that wants to use them is really one of the best things you can do with plastic hangers.

Pile of white plastic clothes hangers in a box
Image By: Sunflower Light Pro, Shutterstock

Plastic Hanger Alternatives

Conservation is all about reducing, reusing, and recycling. While we’ve already covered reusing and recycling plastic hangers, we still need to highlight how you can use less of them in the first place. We’ve highlighted three great alternatives to plastic hangers for you to consider here.

Wooden Hangers

Wooden hangers might cost a little more compared to plastic hangers, but they’re also far more durable. You really can’t recycle wooden hangers, but since they last much longer, they’re still not as bad for the environment. If you treat a wooden hanger properly there’s no reason it can’t last decades.

clothes hanged in wooden hangers
Image By: Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash

Metal Hangers

Metal hangers are another more expensive option than plastic ones, but they last much longer. Not only do metal hangers last longer, but if you take them to a metal scrap yard, you can recycle them when you don’t need them anymore.

Between their longevity and ability to recycle them, metal hangers are one of the most environmentally friendly choices.

Cardboard Hangers

Cardboard hangers are not durable, but they’re also not expensive. And unlike plastic hangers that are near impossible to recycle, you can quickly and easily recycle cardboard hangers. The real hiccup here is that cardboard hangers simply don’t last long.

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Final Thoughts

Sometimes, it takes a little more work to do what’s best for the environment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Take the time to figure out if you can recycle plastic hangers in your area, then always check for recycling markings before recycling them.

If you can’t recycle them, consider switching to a different type of hanger or finding someone else that can use your old plastic hangers!

Featured Image Credit: v74, Shutterstock


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