In recent years the Fashion Industry has been exposed for the damage it has caused the environment, but there is one product that often gets overlooked – the plastic hanger.
As many as 10 billion new plastic hangers are manufactured around the globe (Press Reader).
We explained in our previous blog post ‘What is Plastic?’ about the different types of plastic – and it is unfortunate that most plastic clothes hangers are made from more than one type of plastic, this makes them extremely difficult to recycle, as it is hard to separate the different plastics from one another.
This then means that plastic hangers end up in landfills, where they leak toxic chemicals such as benzene, carcinogen and bisphenol-A (BPA), a hormone disrupter, into the environment.
Around a 100 million plastic hangers are thrown away in the UK alone (The First Mile) not to mention the figures for the rest of the world.
Fox News has also previously reported that around 85 percent of plastic hangers end up in landfills, leaching dangerous toxic chemicals benzene and BPA into the ground water, a finding also supported by Keep Trucke Green.
As we discussed in our Plastic Waste under Sea blog, these leaked chemicals negatively affect and destroy our sea life. The Independent also found that plastic microparticles have been found in flesh of fish which has then been eaten by humans, which then gets released into our bodies. Types of fish found to contain plastic included mackerel, anchovies, shellfish and mussels.
Hangers have also been found in the full form in the ocean and on beaches, causing entanglement amongst marine life and have been ingested too, which affects an animal’s ability to swim and feed and can fatal (National History Museum).
How can you help?
Consumers have been hitting out at stores such as Marks & Spencer for selling pointless mini-hangers when ordering underwear online (The Sun) but the catastrophe is a much larger problem than that caused by one retailer, the entire fashion industry must change.
Donating unwanted clothes hangers to charity shoppers can help, but what is really needed is providing alternative solutions such as hangers made from recyclable material such as paper fibreboard.
Are you innovative to create a sustainable solution to this social issue? There is a market for it, we all want and need better alternatives for the sake of our planet, the demand is there.
If you have some entrepreneurial spirit and want to get started the first step is to learn about the Social Enterprise Business Model. This is when social issues are helped through business.
Become a social entrepreneur and create a thriving sustainable business that helps the world. Click on Learn to find out how to get started.
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