The discarding and recyclability of a product needs to be considered in every design process. That’s why NORMN Hangers applies the principles of the circular economy. The circular economy can be defined as an economy in which both waste and the creation of new materials are eliminated. The focus, rather, is on reusing materials indefinitely. You can probably tell the definition is broad, as is the circular economy itself. It can be incorporated by many businesses, of which we, NORMN Hangers operating in the fashion industry, is one.
So, the circular economy enables materials to have an endless lifetime, other than the linear- and recycling economy. The linear economy, as the name suggests, is defined by products moving from production to waste in a straight line, products and materials only have one lifetime. The recycling economy, on the other hand, is defined by products and materials being reused a few times before ending up as waste — so: multiple lifetimes, but ending as waste all the same. The graphic below visualises the differences between these three economies very well:
Globally, 72% of all plastic waste does not get recovered at all and the fashion industry is responsible for a huge amount of this plastic waste. They use plastics for packaging purposes such as polybags, retail bags, consumer packaging as well as for hangers — which are produced in the billions and often discarded after one use. The fashion industry still needs to make many improvements to move towards a circular economy.
One of the missions NORMN Hangers has is to limit the amount of plastic waste created by the fashion industry. With waste created by plastic hangers being problematic, the creators of NORMN Hangers decided to focus on a hanger alternative. They have thought about their product from beginning to end: The recyclability and durability of the design, the sustainability of materials and the afterlife — so that it can be recycled endlessly and never becomes waste.
Want to know how we did that? The hangers are made from a SolidBoard we developed ourselves. This is similar to cardboard but stronger, which is one of the reasons we chose to develop it ourselves. The other reason is the material: we use recycled paper collected from post-consumer waste and mill broke. Other materials that we use are water-based glues and vegetable-based inks. Due to their design and material our hangers fit into any standard paper recycling system, so when hangers get recycled they can resurface as new hangers again. Long story short, NORMN Hangers are circular — they are durable, made from recycled material and 100% recyclable without any value being lost.
To recap: There are three different types of economy, of which the circular economy enables materials to have an endless lifecycle. The circular economy is broad and complex, and the fashion industry, for one, still has many improvements to make in order to move towards this type of economy. Especially in the field of plastic packaging. To limit plastic waste created by the use of plastic hangers by the fashion industry, NORMN Hangers has developed a circular hanger.
Would you like to know more? Find us @normnhangers on all socials.
Sources for this blog post:
- Pictures: https://www.vlaanderen-circulair.be/nl/?fbclid=IwAR0vJs-CeKnHCkWYJa4soxczkJzgSZnVAZbsBMjRw-y2tVywP5qOiSaBjBU