Oakland-based GreenHeart Global has developed what it believes to be the ultimate eco-solution to the massive problem of unrecyclable clothing hangers. The company’s Ditto Hangers launch today and are an innovative product with significant environmental benefits.
What makes Ditto hangers different from those currently available are the materials used to make them. The hangers are made from two of the most recycled materials world-wide, paper and PET plastic.
“We designed our hangers starting at the end of their useful life rather than from the beginning,” said GreenHeart Global President and CEO Gary Barker. “That way we know they’ll have value on the secondary market, unlike the typical ‘invisible’ hanger found in most retail clothing stores”.
Created for retail clothing companies, non-toxic dry cleaners and green hospitality Ditto Hangers are 100% recyclable in the majority of recycling programs at the store level. They are designed to replace the billions of #6 polystyrene (PS) and #5 polypropylene (PP) plastic and wire hangers that are produced annually, only 15% of which are typically recycled. The rest go to landfills taking over 1000 years to break down1 .
Ditto hangers has two product lines consisting of their 100% recyclable Ditto Paper Hangers, made from certified recycled paper (80-100% PCW) printed with vegetable inks and environmentally friendly starch adhesives, and Ditto’s 100% PET Plastic Hangers (min 70% PCW), the most highly recycled of all plastics world-wide. Their unique design recently won two 1st prizes in the International Design Awards for Sustainable Living/Environmental Preservation and Urban Sustainable Design.
Barker explains, “Many clothing companies ship their clothing from overseas on plastic and wire hangers. Once the item sells, the hanger is disposed. So a hanger with a useful life of a week to a couple of months, ends up in a landfill taking 1000 or more years to degrade. It doesn’t make sense.”
By focusing on making hangers made solely from either paper or PET the company can ensure the hangers are recyclable at end of life. This is a major boon for their customers who can then turn around and cite their use of the product as an environmental improvement to their own customer base.
Interestingly the company considered producing Ditto hangers from bio-plastics, like the Merrick Earthsaver hangers Sustainable is Good has covered. Ultimately they decided against it for a variety of reasons.
“We, too, were hoping to use bio-plastics in our products,” said Barker. “However the more research we did, the more problematic the material appeared. Corn based plastic is only compostable in municipal composting facilities with temperatures that reach 140º for 10 consecutive days, an environment not possible in home composting. Most of the country does not have municipal composting programs. Should bio-plastic get into regular plastic recycling it will foul the entire batch and render it unrecyclable. If bio-plastic is not composted in a landfill will last as long as oil based plastic (1000+ years). Corn used for PLA (NatureWorks) is genetically modified and uses more nitrogen fertilizer, synthetic fertilizers, more herbicide and more insecticides than any other US crop. Sadly the time is not right for this new material. We hope in the years ahead, however, that it will be,” said Barker.
Barker’s new Ditto Hangers are not available directly to consumers, the company is focusing on clothing retailers, dry cleaners and the hospitality industry.