Many people ask us if hangers can be recycled in the single stream. The simple answer is NO, you can’t recycle any type of hanger in your single stream bin. Let us explain the why behind the No:
Because of the odd shape with the hooks and “wiry” form of metal hangers, they get caught on recycling equipment cause massive damage to the system. This means they cannot be processed in the single stream recycling bin (aka your household recycling bin with co-mingled single stream items). That doesn’t mean they can’t be recycled though! You can take wire hangers to a scrap metal business who specializes in all types of metal, not just tin and aluminum cans like single stream. There area few local scrap recyclers who may accept them, check with TJN or other outlets before trashing them. Many dry cleaners and thrift stores will also accept them as donations. You can also find new uses for metal hangers that might change your mind on keeping them around- Check out these ideas for reusing hangers.
Whether they’re the type of colorful, sturdy plastic hangers you use at home or the plastic/metal mix type of hangers used in stores, plastic hangers are nearly impossible to recycle. We can only recycle plastic bottles, tubs and jugs in the single stream- Plastic hangers do not fit into any of these categories so you cannot put them in your single stream bin. However, you can get the most out of your plastic hangers before trashing them by reducing and reusing. If the store leaves a hanger on the shirt when you’re checking out, kindly ask them to remove and keep it. They’ll be happy to keep it and reuse it for other clothing and you won’t have to figure out what to do with it when you get home. Most thrift stores also gladly accept plastic hangers to either bundle and sell or to hang clothes in their store.
Wood hangers are also not recyclable. The wood is treated with varnish or other types of finish, resulting in a non-recyclable product. Consider donating unwanted hangers to charities with lots of jackets, as wooden hangers ideal for these types of heavy material.
As a last resort, if you cannot find any other reuse options or if your hangers are broken, please put them in your garbage can. They cannot be recycled in the single stream recycling stream and if they make it in the bin, they can really jam up the process. Thank you for recycling right!
Have something else you’re not sure about? Use our handy Where Do I Take This tool to search the database of local places you can recycle almost anything! If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask us! We love to hear your questions and if it’s not listed in our database, your questions help us add it to the list for others to see.