Although we prefer traditional wood and metal clothes hangers, our budget dictates a closet full of plastic ones from Target. But we're always looking to reduce our use of plastic items for environmental and political reasons. So we're enthused about the prospect of these Earthsaver clothing hangers, made from 100% U.S. grown corn.
The unusual shape is attributed to a new a "heavy shirt" design that supposedly holds clothing better than conventional hangers. For $3.50 for a set of five at Walmart (neither Merrick nor Walmart have additional information about the product, nor are they available online for purchase), these are neither prohibitively expensive nor the 99 cent bargain bin variety, but there is some debate of whether these hangers are even ecologically sound as a recyclable:
Corn based plastic is only compostable in municipal composting facilities with temperatures that reach 140º for 10 consecutive days, an environment not possible in home composting.
Most of the country does not have municipal composting programs.
Should bio-plastic get into regular plastic recycling it will foul the entire batch and render it unrecyclable.
If bio-plastic is not composted in a landfill will last as long as oil based plastic (1000+ years).
Corporate agriculture methods have some of the highest toxicity rates from pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers.
Sadly the time is not right for this new material. We hope in the years ahead, however, that it will be.
[via Sustainable is Good]