Can You Recycle Plastic Hangers? And Tips for Reuse

Can you recycle?

Clothes hangers can be made from various materials – wood, metal, plastic or fabric. If you have some which you no longer need, you could donate them to charity shops who will use them again.

If you have some which are broken and can no longer be used, contact your local council to check if you can recycle them at a local reuse & recycling centre.

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Can You Put Wire Hangers in the Recycle Bin?

Moving on to our next big question, ’can you put wire hangers in the recycle bin?’

Technically, you can put your wire hangers in the recycle bin. You can put just about any item in the recycle bin. However, whether you can recycle them is yet another issue.

While you may put your wire hangers in the recycling bin, most recycling companies will not accept wire hangers as recyclable items. This is because they may get stuck on the recycling machine due to their metallic form. Even more, most recycling companies cannot handle the shape and material of wire hangers.

So, while there might have been some possibility of recycling wire hangers in your recycling bin, it has been rendered difficult due to their odd shape. Precisely, it can cause damage to the recycling equipment.

This is not to say you cannot recycle wire hangers. Although difficult, you can recycle wire hangers. They still stand a chance of getting recycled, provided you take them to a specialist dealing with scrap metal. You never can tell; some scrap recyclers might accept them.

And if they do not, you can always donate them to dry cleaners and thrift stores.

How can you recycle plastic hangers?

With a little effort, you can recycle plastic hangers and with that small step make Earth a better place. This simple 4 steps guide will help you to determine how you can recycle plastic hangers.

  1. Before you do anything check your clothing hangers recycling number. Usually, hangers are made of polystyrene, which has the number six as a recycling symbol. This type of plastic is very hard for recycling because Styrofoam is bulked into this category and is not widely recycled. Also, most plastic hangers don’t even have a recycling symbol and that can be a problem. Depending on your local recycling program you can or can’t put hangers in the recycling bin. The best thing to do is to check your local recycling policy.
  1. If you can recycle plastic hangers with number six in your community you’ll need to remove metal parts of the hanger before adding them to recycle bin. You can use a set of pliers to remove it.
  1. Checkup TerraCycle! As you maybe already know TerraCycle is a company that makes better material from discarded items. The company recycles products like hangers, juice pouches, toothbrushes, and many more. Their goal is to keep plastic materials out of landfills. If there is no collection station near you, it’s possible to sign up to be a host.
  1. Try to avoid collecting plastic hangers. If you’re buying clothes remove hangers and hand them back to the sales clerk so the retail store can use them again. Also, have in mind that wooden hangers are more sustainable and last longer than plastic ones, consider using those in your home.

Cut the metal hooks off of each hanger with a pair of wire cutters or heavy-duty scissors

After sorting them, you should cut the metal hooks off each hanger with a pair of wire cutters or heavy-duty scissors.

Sorting them out is the first step in recycling plastic hangers, but before you can recycle your old plastic hangers into something new, you are going to need to make sure that they are clean and dry.

This will ensure that no dirt gets left behind on any newly recycled products when made from your used plastic hangers. That way, it won’t be able to scratch up anything else it comes across during its lifespan as well!

Once you have the metal hooks cut off, you will want to get each plastic hanger wet. This will help remove any dirt or grime that may be otherwise embedded in it due to years of use from hanging clothes on them.

You are also going to want to make sure they are dry before continuing with the next step!

After doing this, take a rag and scrub both sides of every individual piece. That way, all traces of dust or other contaminants are removed as well.

Can You Recycle Plastic Hangers?

First up are plastic hangers. And this is because they are quite popular. Now, can you recycle plastic hangers?

The answer is that it is highly unlikely that you can recycle plastic hangers. They are almost impossible to recycle. We understand this might come as a shock giving that you can recycle most plastic items.

However, this does not apply to plastic hangers. You see, some plastic hangers do not appear so. And it can be extremely difficult to identify its plastic-type. Even more, while some are purely plastic, some are metal-like. Now, it is this difficulty in knowing what type of plastics different hangers come from that makes it tricky to recycle.

However, you can derive maximum utility from your plastic hangers by reusing them. You can always donate your old plastic hangers to thrift stores for them to use.

So, you see, while you can still find some use for them when you’re done with them, sadly, when it comes to recycling, plastics hangers are a big NO.

Other materials used in making clothes hangers

Hangers come in other materials like wood, metal, and wire. You can also find more sustainable hangers made of recycled materials. 

Wooden hangers

Wooden hangers are durable and hold out their shape no matter the weight of the clothing. This is unlike plastic or wire hangers that tend to sag after multiple uses. Wood hangers also look more attractive. 

Can you recycle wood hangers? 

While wooden hangers are durable, they, unfortunately, cannot be recycled. Manufacturers mostly treat them with paint or varnish, making them no longer useful for recycling or composting. 

Most wooden hangers come with metal hooks which you can remove and add to your metal recycling bin. 

Wire hangers 

You would mostly find wire hangers with dry cleaners as they are inexpensive and readily available.

You may also have some wire hangers lying around from previous trips to the dry cleaners or clothing store. 

Wire hangers are quite durable; however, they do not hold out their shape and can cause your clothing to stretch. 

Can you recycle wire hangers? 

So can you put your old wire hangers in the curbside recycling bin? Sadly, most curbside recycling services do not accept wire hangers. This is because they are made of metal and have an odd shape that can damage the recycling equipment. 

If your local program mentions collecting hangers, you can drop them off at the curbside bin. However, there might be a few recycling companies that do. Ensure you check with the recycling center near you to find out. 

You can also donate them to dry cleaners near you or give them to scrap metal recyclers. 

Find a local recycling center

A local recycling center may be your best option for recycling plastic hangers. Most are happy to accept any recyclable material and will provide you with a receipt that can be used as proof of recycling.

  • Locate your nearest recycling center by using the search bar on Recycle Now’s website
  • Contact them directly to confirm what they are willing to take, how often they are open and other details specific to their location.
  • They are likely to open at least once a week.
  • You may also need to pay for the recycling service before dropping off your hangers.

Plastic Coat Hangers

For every person who wants to get rid of hangers there always seem to be someone who needs coat hangers, so if the hangers are usuable, start by asking around.

  • Charity shops may be able to use them – ask before you carry a huge bag to your local shop, as bigger charities may only use a certain type of hanger (and will have to put any other hangers in the bin), but smaller charities may be able to use any type.
  • Schools and theatre groups may be interested in them for hanging up costumes.
  • Car booters may be able to use them for displaying stock.
  • You could offer them on Freecycle, Freegle or a local Facebook freebies group.
  • Some clothing retailers and dry cleaning chains do, from time to time, run schemes where you can take in plastic coat hangers for recycling, however at the time of writing there are none that I know of. If I hear of any I’ll update this page.

You will need to check with your own council to know whether you can put your plastic coat hangers into your houshold recycling collection – you probably cannot put them in your recycling bin – however many councils will accept all types of plastic at household recycling centres.

How to recycle plastic clothes hangers?

The vast majority of plastic hangers are made from polystyrene or polycarbonate. These types of plastic, along with the size and shape of the clothes hanger, make them extremely difficult to recycle. Though you may be able to donate plastic hangers to some charity shops, repurposing them is another way to make use of your old plastic hangers. Consider these ideas for repurposing your plastic hangers:

  • Attach a row of small hooks to the bottom of your hanger and use it as jewellery storage.
  • Cut your hangers and attach them to a wooden board to use as a coat rack.
  • Attach a hanger to your wall next to your front door to use as a key holder.
  • Get creative! Use your clothes hangers to create artwork that can be displayed throughout your home.

It’s important to be wary of your carbon footprint when purchasing items. We recommend buying wire clothes hangers instead of plastic hangers, as these can be recycled at a reputable scrap metal dealer, making them much less harmful to the environment. 

Hill Metal Recycling offers 24-hour domestic and commercial scrap metal collection to customers in Harlow, Hertfordshire and the surrounding areas. We have 25 years of experience in the industry and know exactly how to appropriately handle and dispose of all types of scrap metal, including the metal from all types of clothes hangers. If you’re interested in selling scrap metal to earn some extra cash and help the environment at the same time, get in touch with our experienced team today.

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