Making our stores more sustainable with climate-smart hangers

Paper clothes hangers? Made without using water or chemicals? Oh yes!

KappAhl and Ecoligent Paper are now developing new, climate-smart clothes hangers.

Four years ago, Ecoligent Paper began working with KappAhl and our coordinator for the purchasing development department, Pia Larsson, to develop paper hangers.

Our flat Limited Edition hanger was created first, but a three-dimensional hanger has now been developed and is ready to be put to the test in store. If it is given the thumbs-up, we’ll start replacing the coat hangers in all our stores in the second half of 2019.

The process of creating a sturdy coat hanger out of paper that is resistant to moisture and knocks and bumps during transportation and in the store, has involved a lot of lab work and experiments.

Pierre Larsson is Head of Production Development at Ecoligent Paper and responsible for the machinery. He carries out practical trials on all new ideas and is an expert at explaining how fluffy paper pulp is transformed into durable coat hangers, now that the process is more or less finalised.

“The paper is delivered to us in large rolls. We feed it into a mill, grind it down and shape it into a “carpet” from which we then cut hangers. In the next machine, they’re placed around a silicone mould which, with the help of high pressure and intense heat, shapes the paper into a hanger.”

Pierre fishes a finished hanger with KappAhl’s logo on it out of the machine and rubs off some rough edges, which he tosses into a special basket. All waste goes back into the production process.

“Paper, heat and pressure are all you need. No water or chemicals,” says Pierre Larsson.

Are you using recycled paper?

“We are using several different types of cellulose-based materials. From new FSC-certified* fibres to recycled waste paper or recycled cotton textiles. We’re using an unbleached “virgin” paper pulp for these particular KappAhl hangers. Since the pulp is made from a renewable raw material – wood from forests – and forests are managed sustainably in Sweden, this is an especially climate-smart alternative to oil and plastic,” says Jonas Skoglund, one of Ecoligent Paper’s two founders (Patrik Enbacka, CEO of Ecoligent Paper, is the second one).

What other eco-friendly products are in the pipeline?

“We’re discussing belt hangers, hat and glove hangers and a paper hanger for children’s items, as well as window display materials and hangers made of other materials, like recycled jeans. We’ve a long list of ideas for making stores more sustainable,” says Pia Larsson.

*FSC, Forest Stewardship Council, is an international organisation that supports and promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. The FSC’s forest management certification sets standards that require sustainable forestry operations to take environmental and social considerations into account. Biodiversity, ecologically significant habitats and cultural heritage must be protected, employees are provided with contractual and safe working conditions and the general public is offered involvement and transparency.

Hard hanger facts

  • 35 billion plastic hangers end up in the dump each year – just in the EU.
  • There are no less than 500 million plastic hangers in Sweden alone.
  • Life-cycle analyses show that emissions of carbon dioxide are twelve times lower for a paper hanger than for a plastic clothes hanger.