Home Green Design LA Clothing Designer Turns Ocean-Bound Plastics into Hangers

LA Clothing Designer Turns Ocean-Bound Plastics into Hangers

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NEW YORK—(re)x, an eco-design company founded by Los Angeles-based designer Paulina Quintana, is introducing at NY NOW a new hanger made from 100 percent recycled plastic that is gathered from the ocean or intercepted before entering the ocean. The (re)x hanger was named “Best in NY NOW Show” in the sustainability category by the New York chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Assn.

“We need to change people’s relationship to plastic,” said (re)x CEO Quintana. “Our mission is to create sustainable solutions for everyday products and turn them into an opportunity to remove plastic waste from the environment. The environmental impact of discarded plastics is one of the most vexing issues we face. There are over 8 billion plastic hangers discarded every year along with over 8 million metric tons of plastics entering our oceans annually. Our new hanger represents an advancement in reducing the damage plastic is inflicting on our planet.”

An accomplished designer, Quintana’s experience in the fashion industry fuels her passion for green innovation. The (re)x founder ran her own international children’s clothing brand for 13 years to much acclaim but was troubled by the sheer volume of waste created by plastic hangers that were discarded and bound for landfills. (re)x (pronounced re-to-the-x) was born from the desire to reduce consumers’ environmental footprint, with the goal of eliminating the need for products made from virgin plastic. Quintana engineered a solution by designing a 100 percent recycled hanger made from recovered ocean plastics.

Raw materials for the (re)x hangers are sourced from beach clean-ups and local recycling efforts in South Africa, recovering plastics from the ocean and removing post-consumer and post-commercial plastics from the waste stream. The color of each hanger will feature slight variations over time, reflecting the variety of plastics collected. All the company’s packaging is made from 100 percent recycled material and is 100 percent biodegradable, helping keep more plastic out of the ocean.

Marrying Design with Purpose

(re)x has innovated a ubiquitous household item. “We have reengineered the hanger,” said Quintana. “We increased the overall thickness by 50 percent, ensuring a significant improvement in durability and resistance to breakage.” (re)x also increased the vertical strength of the pant bar to hold heavy garments without bending and added an integrated “fishhook-style” garment hook.  A unique “bridge” at the apex of the hanger completes the design to provide maneuverability in tight spaces packed with clothing. “It is superior to traditional plastic hangers in every respect, so it is not going into a landfill, and it is NOT made from virgin plastic,” says Quintana.

Quintana aims to demonstrate to retailers and consumers alike that when it comes time to reorder hangers, they can use their purchasing decisions to protect the environment with a better designed, more durable, and more sustainable option. “When you consider that most every home, apartment and retail store have plastic hangers, we have a big challenge on our hands to change people’s future buying patterns.”

Mission Based Manufacturing

To manufacture the product, Quintana is partnering with Ocean Plastic Technologies (OPT), a South African manufacturing technology company whose sustainability principles extend well beyond recycled plastics. Ocean Plastic Technologies not only provides the raw materials and fabrication for (re)x ’s hanger, but they also educate, train, and employ South African workers who have a desire to protect their environment.

OPT uses portable “micro recycling plants” that are deployed where storms and ocean currents churn up plastic along the shore. These self-contained, mobile manufacturing facilities allow OPT to access local communities quickly and efficiently to capture plastics from waterways or before they enter waterways and then recycle them for use in products like (re)x hangers. To date, the production of (re)x hangers has removed 3.3 tons of ocean and ocean-bound plastic waste.

“Paulina has incredible passion and determination to reduce the use of virgin plastic,” said Oliver Nudds, Managing Director at Ocean Plastic Technologies. Paulina’s authenticity about the environment is a revelation and we bought right into her vision. Let’s face it, everyone buys plastic hangers, but when made from recycled plastic they are the right hanger for today, and honestly the right hanger for the future. This is a hanger with a purpose. We are honored to help (re)x make a positive impact to reduce worldwide plastic waste.”

Early Success and E-Commerce Functionality

After a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, (re)x has manufacturing underway in South Africa and is fulfilling purchase orders for immediate delivery. To date, the company has sold more than 1,000 hangers to high schools, colleges, and universities across North America.

This month, (re)x launched an e-commerce store on its website, allowing consumers to purchase the company’s hangers online and have them shipped anywhere in the world. Individual consumers can also purchase their own 10-pack of (re)x’s fully recycled hangers for a retail price of $18.

For more information about (re)x’s products or to place an order, customers can visit retothex.com.

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