Gallery: IS IT GREEN?: Rethink Hanger Repurposes Plastic Bottles


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.

+ Xuan Yuan

+ Rethink Concepts

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  1. miaomiaowu April 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Your blog article is very intersting and fanstic,at the same time the blog theme is unique and perfect,great job.To your success.

  2. ianmoise March 13, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Hi Lea,

    Thanks so much for this article. I am all about reuse but I think reuse has to be profitable (i.e. mix with new product) and this hanger does just that. We need more examples like this one. I am building a website ( for global knowledge sharing around reuse. We hope to spur eco-innovation for ideas just such as this.

    Thanks again for the article and the great example.

    Warmest wishes,
    Ian Moise

  3. swandiver February 21, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    If you’re only thinking of a Western market that has a legacy of cooridnated recycling, then this product might be iffy. But we are ignoring whole countries with millions of poor people who could use anything to help them repurpose some of the waste their governments might not be capable or willing to handle.

    I would have to agree with the post, if it was made of recycled materials then it would be more green but I think it’s a passable interim, low-energy use way to resuse bottles.

    Another plus would be that it’s a great way to hide and/or store small things like jewelry or change. Or mabye poke small holes in the to store moth balls or sachets.

  4. jimjim421 February 17, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Hmmm….this WAS not a bad idea for older design water bottles. Unfortunately, most current water battles are so thin as to be more like plastic bags with screw tops. They just would not be sturdy enough to hold a shirt.

  5. Are-you-serious February 17, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Plastic to reuse more plastic…. maybe if this thing was made out of bamboo or recycled bottles or something else, but using plastic to conserve plastic is an oxymoron.

  6. ct February 16, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    and that probably keeps your shirts from getting that annoying line in the shoulders from regular hangers.

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