UK Retailer Recycles 100M Hangers for UNICEF

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U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer has recycled 100 million hangers in the last six months, raising more than $588,000 for international children’s charity, UNICEF.

The retailer’s hanger recycling scheme is simple: customers are given the option not to take hangers home, and hangers left behind are reused in-store or recycled, M&S said.

For every £1 saved from hanger recycling, M&S donates £0.50 to UNICEF to fund a new project in the Mymensingh and Dhaka regions of Bangladesh. The program will improve the lives of more than 50,000 people, providing basic needs such as clean water, education and health care, the retailer said.

“We’re delighted this scheme is working so well,” said Kate Bostock, M&S director of clothing and home. “For every customer that doesn’t take a hanger, the environment benefits and one of the world’s leading charities benefits.”

READ: United Colors of Benetton Unveils Biodegradable Hanger

Once they leave stores, unwanted hangers are taken to a factory in North Wales to be hand sorted. All intact hangers are shipped back to M&S garment manufacturers for reuse, and damaged hangers are reground and turned back into new ones. Even cardboard boxes used to ship the hangers are reused at least four times before being recycled, M&S said.

The retailer has collected 650,000 boxes of hangers so far. Two boxes provide enough funds to give a child access to clean water for a month, and 35 boxes could place a child in day care for an entire year, according to UNICEF estimates.

The recycling program continues at M&S, and the company expects to recycle at least 50 million more hangers by July.

READ: Clothing Recycling Funds Charity Programs

Feature photo courtesy of kenny1 / Shutterstock.com

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Mary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.
Mary Mazzoni