Hangers are 'fashion industry's plastic straw', says designer

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Media captionPlastic hangers ‘are our dirty secret’, says designer

A recyclable clothes hanger has been developed by a fashion designer in an attempt to end the use of plastic ones.

Roland Mouret says plastic hangers are the “plastic straw” of the fashion industry and has developed what he says is the world’s only sustainable brand.

They are made out of 80% recycled plastic recovered from the sea and 20% recyclable plastic, and they also feature aluminium hooks.

Current plastic hangers are hard to recycle because of how they are made.

They can include a combination of up to seven different plastics as well as metal, and many hangers end up in landfill where they can take up to 1,000 years to break down, according to hanger recycling company First Mile.

Mr Mouret offered 300 of his new hangers for free to most designers at last month’s London Fashion Week. However, only about 20% accepted them.

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The new hangers are slate grey, which shows they have not been tampered with by chemicals during the production process

Mr Mouret, who created the hangers in collaboration with the firm Arch and Hook, told BBC Breakfast: “A beautiful garment has to be hanged on a hanger and has to be carried by van to the store.

“In that travel, we use single use plastic hangers that we throw away straight away after, and they’re all polystyrene and polystyrene is not recyclable.”

Mr Mouret says his hanger is “fully sustainable”.

“I think it’s stronger than a normal hanger, but at the moment, if you break it, it’s completely recyclable.

“You can have something that becomes so circular that nothing goes back to the sea.”

There has been growing concern about the environmental cost of continuing to use plastic hangers.

Over the summer, Labour MP Angela Smith said shops should be banned from giving them out, while John Lewis is inviting its customers to bring in old hangers for reuse or for in-store recycling.

And an Aberdeen shopping centre has created a scheme where customers can leave plastic hangers in a designated area in its car park entrance for others to reuse.

Mr Mouret also blamed the desire for fast fashion for environmental problems.

“One of the trends of the 90s was the must-have [item of clothing], and the must-have was treated as an addiction,” he said.

“Every time if you don’t buy it, you’re going to be unhappy and if you buy it, you can throw it away.

“We thought it would carry on, it fell apart. It’s falling apart now and that’s why we have to make a change.”