Homeless in Vancouver: Coat hangers—another recycling hang up

Boy, people throw out a lot of coat hangers.

They throw them out individually, in bunches, and in big bags—thousands every year—and I’m just talking about the people who live in the Fairview neighbourhood.

People are not throwing them away because they’re broken. Virtually all of these wire and plastic coat hangers I see being trashed are in perfect condition. They just happen to be an unwanted byproduct of using laundry and dry cleaning services.

People transfer the freshly cleaned clothes onto their own good coat hangers when they get them home; then they just want to get rid of the cleaner’s cheap wire and plastic numbers.

Anyway, that’s what I imagine is going on.

As usual, when people want a thing gone they throw it in the garbage unless they’re given a clear alternative.

Making them go away one way or the other

Whether these hangers come from laundries and dry cleaners or not, the most commonly suggested alternative to throwing them away is, in fact, to take them to laundries and/or dry cleaners, where they will supposedly be gladly accepted and reused.

The second most common suggestion is to give the coat hangers to thrift stores.

The third suggestion is to use them in your garden somehow or make stupid cool things with them.

This doesn’t work with all those plastic and wire coat hangers but it’s nice.
Instructables

The Vancouver Reuses website suggests dry cleaners and thrift stores may be choosy about taking only metal coat hangers but adds that many dry cleaners may also accept used plastic garment bags, twist ties, and safety pins.

The recycling options, for metal wire coat hangers, insofar as the City of Vancouver is concerned, appear to consist of delivering them to either the Vancouver landfill in Delta or the transfer station on South East Marine Drive (directions are here).

If you can’t give the plastic coat hangers away, then the city says they really are garbage. You might as well dump them in the container blue bin until someone tells you not to.

HSR Services is a recycling company located in Port Coquitlam, which says it will take all compositions of coat hangers for recycling—metal, plastic, metal and plastic, it doesn’t matter. I don’t know if they’ll take just, say, three, or if they only accept them in industrial quantities.

Once again I find the regional recycling reference tools frustratingly vague.

Neither Recyclepedia or Metro Vancouver Recycles “knows” what a coat hanger is. They only know metal: ferrous, non ferrous, aluminum, and other. But they will give you the contact details of salvage companies near you.

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