Are Wire Hangers Recyclable? How to Properly Dispose of Them
Wire coat hangers cannot be recycled safely. It isn’t because of the material they’re made of—but because of their shape. They can easily get jammed in recycling equipment, causing machine damage and worker injuries. They can also get stuck and then “jump” up, causing them to injure nearby workers. Therefore, while they are technically made out of a recyclable material sometimes, they aren’t all that recyclable.
To keep workers safe, you should keep them out of your recycling.
Ways to Reduce and Reuse Wire Hangers
The best way to reduce wire hangers is to use your hangers correctly. Don’t misuse hangers in a way that may cause them to break or bend. If you take your clothes to the dry cleaners, use your hangers so that the company doesn’t have to send new ones home with you.
Sometimes, you can donate hangers, and several places may take donated hangers—anywhere that has clothing may need more. Call around and ask local charities. You can also take them to your local dry cleaners, who may reuse the hangers given to them.
You can try giving them away on Freecycle or Craigslist. Someone local may be looking for hangers and could reuse yours instead of purchasing new ones.
Do Metal Hangers Get Recycled?
There are very few recycling places that will take wire hangers. Some are made to handle the unique problems these hangers bring, but many don’t have the equipment to recycle them safely. Many places with curbside recycling pick-ups do not take hangers, as they can get stuck in their equipment. Therefore, if there is a place near you that can handle this material, you’ll typically have to take it there yourself.
If there isn’t a recycling center near you that takes wire hangers, you can try some of our above suggestions. Your local dry cleaner or clothing-based charity may be able to reuse the hangers, keeping them out of the trash.
Will Charity Shops Take Hangers?
Many people donate clothing to charity without hangers to go with them. Therefore, many charity shops will take hanger donations. After all, they have to hang their clothes on something. Of course, this isn’t true for all charity shops and we recommend calling and asking whether your local shops accept hangers.
Usually, those with large amounts of clothing are more likely to accept clothes than other shops.
Should You Not Use Wire Hangers?
Generally, wire hangers aren’t the best choice for hangers. Firstly, they are not very good for clothes. Metal can rust, even if it is typically kept dry. This rust can get on your clothes and ruin the fabric. Alternatively, just a bit of rust can get on your clothing—only to be transferred to your skin later.
Wire hangers are also quite flimsy and they tend to lose their shape over time. Therefore, they don’t last very long despite their metal design. You can’t hang heavier clothes on them, as they will bend. Clothes can also easily slip off these hangers, especially if they’ve started to lose shape.
The part of the hanger that twists around the hook can also be potentially dangerous. Often, it is sharp, allowing it to cut you or your clothes. Those thin prongs are not to be messed with.
The metal hanger’s sharp and thin design makes them very good at getting stuck in children’s mouths. Plus, children can also fall while holding them, potentially causing punctures. On the other hand, a plastic hanger has a bit more bend to it and isn’t sharp, preventing these issues.
Metal hangers are also bad for the environment as they cannot be recycled easily. Metal can be recycled, but our current recycling facilities aren’t made to recycle metal hangers. They become stuck in machines and can cause injuries. Therefore, while they are technically “sustainable,” they can’t be practically recycled.
Sadly, metal hangers cannot be recycled. They are a potential hazard for recycling workers and equipment. The prongs of the metal can damage humans and machines alike, especially when moving through a recycling facility. Therefore, while the metal can be recycled technically, few places can deal with metal hangers.
Therefore, you may want to switch to a more sustainable hanger in the future. However, there is much confusion as to which hangers are sustainable. A sustainable hanger is only as good as the facilities that recycle it, as we can see with metal hangers.
In the meantime, you can try to donate your hangers. Many charity shops may need to use hangers for clothes. Many dry cleaners will also accept hanger donations.
Featured Image Credit: Caleb Lucas, Unsplash