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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Hung up on Hangers

Air Date: Week of

(Courtesy of Jaime Fraser)

If Bob Kantor of HangerNetwork has his way, the wire hanger will soon be an item of the past. Kantor’s company produces recyclable cardboard hangers, which are being distributed by more than 30,000 drycleaners across the country. He talks with host Steve Curwood about his businees.


CURWOOD: Advertisements, it seems, are almost everywhere, from the sides of buses to video screens in washrooms. They’re almost impossible to get away from. And now, marketer Bob Kantor is bringing them to just about the last ad-free frontier -- your bedroom closet. But Mr. Kantor says, it’s all in the interest of the earth. Old-fashioned wire clothes hangers consume almost 200 million pounds of steel a year in the U.S. alone.

And a good deal of that eventually ends up in landfills. So, Mr. Kantor says, he’s got the answer: the EcoHanger. It’s a hanger with an environmental—and oh, yes--a commercial—message.

KANTOR: EcoHangers are made out of recycled paper and are fully recyclable. They are a heavy-duty paperboard. It’s 34-ply paper, which is then folded twice and laminated like the back of a magazine. So, they’re a beautiful platform for distributing advertising and promotional messages that reach consumers in the mornings while they’re getting dressed.

CURWOOD: How exactly does your business model work?

KANTOR: The EcoHangers are distributed through a proprietary network of 35,000 drycleaners throughout the United States. That’s over 95 percent of the drycleaners in America. And we provide them to the drycleaners for free so it’s a win-win situation for the consumers, for the drycleaners, and for the marketers who want to reach consumers with their advertising.

CURWOOD: So, I get this hanger and it has an add on it. I wake up in the morning and I’m told I should buy, what?

(Courtesy of Jaime Fraser)

KANTOR: You wake up in the morning and instead of seeing the nasty mangled wire hangers that typically sit in your closet you see a beautiful message in 4 color that’s targeted directly to you from marketers who want to reach adult men and/or women during their dressing and grooming ritual.

CURWOOD: Okay, so let’s say I’m in Chicago and I want to advertise in that market. How much is it going to cost me? For every hanger that’s got the Steve Curwood Shirt Company on it, what do I have to pay?

KANTOR: It depends on how many people are in the individual buys, but on a cost per impression, which is the way advertisers tend to compare media it’s anywhere from between four and five cents. So it’s a very efficient media buy.

CURWOOD: How much steel do you think your business is eliminating now from the U.S. market per year, today?

KANTOR: It’s hard to put an estimate on it because our business has been growing at a pretty rapid pace, but we are on pace to virtually eliminate all wire hangers in the United States that are used on shirts delivered through drycleaners.

CURWOOD: There’s only one thing, Bob, about this. What if the muffler is falling off of my car? How am I going to use your hanger to wire it up?

KANTOR: Virtually the only reason that anyone would ever want to have a wire hanger again is to either keep your muffler on or break into your car.

CURWOOD: Bob Kantor is the CEO of Hanger Network. It’s a company that makes clothes hangers out of recycled material. Thank you so much sir.

KANTOR: My pleasure.

CURWOOD: Of course there is another way to reduce steel waste and still keep your closet ad-free. Just take your old hangers back with you to the cleaners and ask them to use them again.



Hanger Network website


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