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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Green is the new Black

When I get my clothes back from the dry cleaner the first thing I do is rip off the plastic overlay and remove the crappy wire hangers they give me. On my next visit to the cleaners I try to give the hangers back to them so they can reuse them. Depending on who is working that day they may take them back. Otherwise the hangers end up in the landfill. In fact, 3.5 billion wire hangers end up in U.S. landfills every year. J.D. Shulman came up with an solution to this problem when his mom asked him to take out the garbage one day, and the wire dry cleaning hangers stuck out of the bag and gravy leaked out on to the white carpet. He was so annoyed, he thought there had to be a better way. So he designed biodegradable recyclable hangers called EcoHangers. He gives millions of them away to dry cleaners every year. How does he make money? He prints advertising on every hanger, costing him 4.5 cents per hanger, but companies are paying big bucks to place their ads on the hangers. The company says they are growing at 500% per year. In 2005 they allowed 1400 dry cleaners to participate, this year they are allowing participation to 14,500 stores. Brilliantness.