Bright Idea: Hanger recycling program

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A couple of winters ago, Marina Higgins read a NY Times article about how the skyrocketing price of metal hangers was squeezing drycleaners and their customers.

“It got me thinking about all of the hangers which are thrown by mistake into our buildings’ trash receptacles and end up in landfills,” says Higgins, a vice president at property management and real estate firm Argo Real Estate. “I have always returned hangers to my local dry cleaner and I decided to explore doing this on a larger scale."

Higgins' own drycleaner put her in touch with a “hanger holder” supplier, Minda Supply. Higgins coupled the holder with a simple plastic box from the Container Store and created a hanger recycling receptacle for less than $20.

“We have placed them in the laundry rooms of many of our properties, partnering with local dry cleaners,” she says. 

The receptacles' visibility has drastically decreased the number of hangers winding up in the trash that then must be picked out by building workers.

As for the hangers collected, she says, “our building staff either delivers the hangers or in some cases the cleaners actually pick them up. Building residents have been overwhelmingly responsive, she says, and the local cleaners grateful."

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