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Can You Recycle Plastic Clothes Hangers?

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Can Plastic Clothes Hangers Go in the Recycling Bin?

As you’re cleaning out clothes you no longer wear from your closet, you might find yourself with a huge pile of unwanted hangers and a question on your mind — can you recycle plastic clothes hangers? We all know that embracing sustainable living involves making conscious choices in every aspect of our lives, and our closets are no exception.

Join me as we unravel the mystery behind those ubiquitous plastic hangers and discover whether they can find a second life through recycling or if we need to consider alternative solutions. It’s time to make our closets as eco-friendly as the rest of our lifestyle choices!

Can You Recycle Old Plastic Coat Hangers?

Plastic clothes hangers

Unfortunately, no, you can’t recycle plastic hangers using the conventional curbside bin recycling process. Most plastic hangers are made with more than one type of plastic resin.

Some might also contain multiple materials, such as wood or metal parts. Additionally, because of their odd shape, hangers can jam the recycling center machinery.

While you can’t recycle plastic hangers, the good news is that there are other ways to get rid of old hangers without throwing them away. Read on to learn why you can’t recycle plastic hangers and what you can do with unwanted hangers to lessen their environmental impact.

Why Are Plastic Clothes Hangers Hard to Recycle?

Plastic clothes hangers have three main problems going for them when it comes to their inability to be recycled: the type of plastic they’re made from, other contaminants in them, and their shape.

Most plastic hangers fall into the category of polypropylene (#5) or polystyrene (#6). These plastics are a bit trickier when it comes to recycling.

They’re considered low-grade plastics. Most companies find that it’s cheaper to make new when it comes to these types of plastic, so they won’t even bother purchasing recycled material.

In addition to plastic, some clothes hangers might contain other materials, such as metal hooks, glue, decorative materials, or other non-recyclable plastics. Your typical community recycling facility can’t handle foreign objects in the recycling stream since they can contaminate an entire batch of recycled materials.

Lastly, clothes hangers are a very odd shape. All of those edges and protruding points make it incredibly easy for hangers to get stuck in the recycling machinery and jam up the entire process.

Can You Donate Plastic Coat Hangers?

We’ve established that you can’t recycle those old plastic hangers, but can you donate them? Absolutely! Donating hangers is a great way to keep them out of landfills and get them into the hands of people who can keep using them. Here are some different ways you can donate those excess hangers if they’re still in good condition:

Friends and Family

It’s always a good idea to check with friends and family to see if they could use your old hangers. This is especially true if you have an older kid who’s transitioning away from child-sized clothes hangers and you have friends or family with younger children.

Related: The Best Ethical, Sustainable, and Affordable Clothing for Kids

Dry Cleaners

If you have old wire hangers you no longer need, contact your local dry cleaner and see if they can take them. Dry cleaners tend to go through a lot of hangers, so most stores will gladly accept a donation of any wire hangers that are still in good shape.


Target has created a comprehensive recycling program to help you recycle everything from plastic bottles and plastic bags. Many Target stores will accept plastic hangers.

The stores will reuse or upcycle the hangers multiple times before grinding them down to create brand-new hangers.

To recycle plastic hangers at Target, look for the collection bins specifically designated for hangers. These bins can either be at the front of the store or located near the clothing or housewares section.

Thrift Shops

Your local thrift stores, consignment stores, and secondhand clothing stores go through A LOT of clothes hangers. Contact different stores in your community to see if they’re able to accept a donation of hangers.

Related: Where to Donate Old Toys (Including Stuffed Animals!)

Charity Organizations

Charity shops and other organizations might also accept your hangers if they’re still in good condition. As always, it’s a good idea to contact the store in advance to make sure they can take your hangers.

What Are Some More Sustainable Types of Clothes Hangers?

If you’re trying to reduce all of those single-use plastics around your house, you might be interested in making the switch to sustainable hangers. Here are some great options for eco-friendly clothes hangers that are gentler on the environment.

Wooden Hangers

Wood hangers are a great alternative to plastic hangers because they’re strong and durable. They’re also attractive and designed to last a lifetime. Plus, unlike plastic hangers that can sag or break under the weight of heavy clothes, wood hangers will hold their shape no matter what.

When you’re shopping for wooden hangers, try to look for brands that use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood. This wood comes from well-managed forests or recycled materials to help protect our vital forests.

Can You Recycle Wooden Coat Hangers?

Unfortunately, you can’t recycle wooden hangers. Manufacturers often treat them with paint, varnish, or other types of finish that make them impossible to recycle or compost. If you have wood hangers you no longer need, you should donate them.

Metal Hangers

Dry cleaners often use metal clothes hangers to hang up clothes under the dry cleaning bags because they’re inexpensive and easy to purchase in large quantities. While metal coat hangers are typically more durable than plastic hangers, they can eventually lose their shape. Sometimes they can also cause clothes to stretch.

Can You Recycle Metal Wire Clothes Hangers?

No, most curbside household recycling programs can’t accept wire coat hangers. Once again, this has to do with the odd shape of hangers and their tendency to get stuck in the recycling center machinery.

It never hurts to contact your local recycling center to see if you can drop off metal hangers for recycling. You can also contact any scrap metal recyclers or another type of scrap metal business in your area to see if they’ll accept your unwanted wire hangers.

Recycled Hangers

rex Recycled Plastic Hangers

If you don’t mind using plastic to hang up your clothes, recycled plastic hangers are another option to consider. ( r e ) ˣ is a company that’s committed to removing plastic waste from the environment and eliminating the need for new plastic.

All of the materials they use to make their products come from recycled plastic from the ocean or around the ocean and are obtained through beach clean-ups and local recycling efforts. They offer packs of both adult hangers and children’s hangers in a variety of colors.

The company even has take-back programs for their kid’s hangers so you can turn them in after your child has outgrown them so they can be recirculated and kept out of landfills.

Plastic Clothes Hangers: Can You Recycle or Not?

Recycling plastic coat hangers may not be as straightforward as recycling a soda can, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a pile destined for the landfill. If recycling isn’t an option, you can always get creative!

Donate your hangers to family members, local businesses, or thrift stores that might welcome them. If you have crafty friends, you can always consider passing them along for new and fabulous upcycling projects.

And let’s not forget the golden rule of sustainable living — reduce and reuse. Investing in quality, eco-friendly hangers for future clothing purchases is a fantastic way to lessen your reliance on plastic.

More Helpful Tips on Eco-Friendly Living

Did you find this post on whether or not you can recycle plastic clothes hangers useful? Are you looking for additional tips that can help you live a more sustainable life? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:

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