Chinese designer Xuan Yu’s Rethink hanger caught our attention as a clever concept for storing your threads, but we’re not casting our vote just yet for this “eco” product. Touted as a green solution, this plastic bit requires empty bottles screwed into either side in order to function. There’s no doubt that these brightly-colored molded plastic parts have a sleek look, but is it valid to call a product eco-friendly just because it proposes to reuse bottles?
There are many considerations that lead us to conclude that the Rethink hanger is not the best green solution. First off, it is unclear whether the plastic used to make Rethink has recycled content, or whether it could be recycled in the future. Second, if you were to use these to hang all of the clothes in a closet, that would mean buying that many PET bottles. We don’t think most people would rummage for discarded bottles to use for their clothing.
That means that Rethink might actually be promoting the sale of bottles instead of finding a good use for the all that bottle refuse. Also, even though it might seem small, the Rethink hanger weighs just over 2 ounces, which is more than three times the weigh of the plastic hangers you can buy in packs at your nearest big box store. No material savings there.
From a functionality standpoint, the hanger’s bottles might work well to prevent the pointy shoulders that can be created by traditional hangers. However due to the volume of the empty bottles, it might not be best for those with limited closet space.
If you are in the market for a better eco-solution, you should look into paper hangers. Ditto hangers are made from 100% tree-free recycled paper and can hold up to 20 lbs. For a trendier look, Zilka hangers are a good option, but are not yet available in the US. If you are not happy with those solutions, the New York City-based company Vesta allows you to design your own graphics for their recycled paper hangers.