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Eliminate Plastic Waste & Shrink Retail’s Carbon Footprint with Reusable Hangers

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As we settle into the new year, our Sourcing Summit Companion Report looks ahead at ways to optimize processes and performance.

The demand for the end of waste is already knocking loudly at the fashion industry’s door. Products need to be durable and reusable—not disposable. We must all shift our thinking toward leading the circular economy and start demanding the end of single-use plastics.

Recycling and durability are increasingly emphasized as sustainability strategies for garments, but these concepts should extend beyond clothing itself. As major fashion retailers work toward eliminating waste and reducing carbon emissions, many are overlooking how ancillary products can make a significant impact toward their goals. Hangers, namely, often go unnoticed, but they can play a major role in shrinking a retailer’s environmental footprint.

Pact Retail Accessories is working with large-volume retailers like Target to help lower their emissions and eliminate plastic waste through a closed-loop hanger reuse program. This process involves collecting used garment hangers from retail stores, transporting to a Pact reuse facility, sorting, inspecting them for quality, then repacking and distributing them to garment, footwear and accessory suppliers and manufacturers around the world.

Pact Retail Accessories sorting facility

A Pact Retail Accessories sorting facility

Pact Retail Accessories has a global supply chain and consolidated relationship with many of the world’s leading garment manufacturers, allowing the hanger to be applied to the garment directly at needle point, rather than in-store.

Retailers can no longer afford to opt for a single-use garment hanger. A closed-loop reuse system means that no hanger is disposed of at the store level, thus eliminating plastic waste disposal issues that create complexity and added costs, as well as substantial environmental risks. Furthermore, an independent carbon footprint assessment conducted by Bridge House Advisors for Pact concluded that the total emissions derived from the hanger reuse program are 76 percent less than the total overall emissions derived from the manufacture of new hangers with virgin materials, and 70 percent less than the total overall emissions derived from the manufacture of new hangers with recycled plastic. In addition to carbon reduction, Pact’s Reuse program offers an 86 percent reduction in water usage compared to manufacturing new plastic hangers.

Rounding out the circular model, plastic hangers that can no longer be used—such as those that become broken—are granulated and the recycled material is used to produce new hangers by Pact. The goal is to create hangers that can last through multiple cycles for several years, so each hanger is manufactured with quality and durability in mind.

Pact Retail Accessories hanger

Along with garment hangers, Pact’s Reuse services can also reuse electronic article surveillance (EAS) security tags, keeping more plastic out of landfills. Like garment hangers, these EAS tags are sorted and delivered to the retailer’s garment manufacturers so they can be applied to clothing at the point of production.

Reusing garment hangers through this program can be financially beneficial, too. Pact’s reuse system is fine-tuned for each retailer’s specific supply chain, allowing for average reuse rates of more than 70 percent, which result in lower hanger costs and higher operational efficiencies. Pact Retail Accessories can track and trace the entire life cycle of a retailer’s reusable garment hanger and/or security tag as part of the closed-loop process, giving retailers all the necessary information needed for ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) reporting.

Pact has been offering and developing its circular garment hanger solutions since 1989, and now, more than 30 years later, eliminating waste has become an even more pressing issue. To further tackle plastic waste at retail on a global level, Pact Retail Accessories is a member of Plastics Pacts around the world, which are enabled by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative and include targets for eliminating single-use plastic and creating plastic packaging that can be recycled, reused or composted.

“Every business has a crucial role to play in reducing the volume of plastic waste and minimizing carbon emissions,” said Camillo Colombo, executive general manager of Pact Retail Accessories. “Our closed-loop reuse system offers an effective, cost competitive solution and we’re proud that a growing number of retailers are transitioning to a circular economy by embracing reuse as the answer to some of fashion retail’s most pressing issues.”

Click here to learn more about Pact Retail Accessories.

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