FUKUOKA -- Two companies based in southwest Japan's Fukuoka Prefecture have developed all-cardboard clothes hangers that can be used in dress shirt bagging machines as they aim to reduce plastic waste.
Daikoku Cardboard Co., based in the city of Yukuhashi, and Ursa Group, primarily a laundry services company in Fukuoka, developed the hangers after they were "matched" by the prefectural government's Fukuoka Research Commercialization Center for Recycling Systems (FRC). The FRC, "a policy-promoting research organization which works on the 3Rs (reducing, reusing and recycling waste)," wanted to create new businesses and switch to renewable resources. The companies claim the development is a first in the dry-cleaning industry.
According to the FRC and others, the hangers are assembled with two parts: the body, and a hook which is made of two layers of cardboard to increase their load-bearing strength. The body is produced in a way that reduces scrap material, saving on costs in an advancement hoped to spread across the industry.
The hangers will begin to be implemented at Ursa's four "Solairo Cleaning Factory" locations in Fukuoka's Hakata Ward. They will replace the roughly 20,000 half-width plastic hangers the company uses for dress shirts every year. While the company reuses the plastic hangers, over half are discarded by customers, the company said. Because they're cardboard, the parts in the new hangers can be replaced if either becomes damaged, and when no longer reusable, they can be recycled into new cardboard.
The Ursa Group said they would like to develop full-size hangers next.
(Japanese original by Eijiro Matsuda, Kyushu News Department)