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Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

When You Break Barriers, Others Follow.

March 20, 2018

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Ditto pioneered the first sustainable retail hanger back in 2006. Two and a half years were spent researching recycling systems at retail stores large and small, studied how hangers were used in shipping (GOH) and retail settings, engineered and tested paper fiberboard to make sure it was as strong as composite wood—yet still recyclable with cardboard. Over 30 international patents later, the Ditto Sustainable Hanger was launched in 2008.

Since then many companies around the world have tried to copy the Ditto Sustainable Hanger without success. Poor design, substandard material, nonrecyclable add-ons cause the imitator's hangers to fail where it counts most: on the retail platform.

Ditto’s engineering, designs and constant improvement have made Ditto Hangers the finest and best sustainable retail hanger in the world, bar none. All our Ditto Hangers are customizable to take advantage of branding and marketing benefits no other company can offer.

Good try, guys. But thanks for the compliment.

 

The Story of the Ditto Hanger

The Innovating of a Commodity

January 30, 2018

If you’re a conscientious consumer, you’re probably aware that better and worse fashion choices exist. Perhaps you try to source your fashion ethically when you can, or wear your clothes longer.

These choices are important, and if you’re making them, hats off to you. But chances are you’re overlooking one of the most massive components of waste in the fashion world: The clothes hanger.

The Great Hanger Escape

“People just don’t think about the minutiae,” says Gary Barker, CEO of Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions and Greenheart Global. Barker doesn’t blame people for that; the plastic hanger is so ubiquitous in our world it practically blends into the background. We barely notice it anymore, despite the fact that 34 billion plastic hangers head to landfill annually.

That would fill 20 Empire State Buildings. 93 million hangers are trashed every day.

The problem? The fashion industry insists on conformity, which is why retail clothes hangers have been made of clear, I-beam shaped plastic with a metal hook since the 1970s. But, we don’t like this style of hanger in our personal closets.

Someone Recycles Them, Right? Wrong.

So you just leave them at the store and they reuse them, right? Wrong. Nowadays clothes are shipped to retailers on hangers already. That means that there’s no room for the old hangers that are taken off of sold clothes, so they go in the trash.

Neither stores nor consumers have a recycling recourse for these hangers, which are designed without end-of-life consideration. And it’s a short life. From manufacture to shipping to purchase to landfill may only be a matter of days, weeks at best. And they only ever held one garment. That’s thousands of tons of needless waste to satisfy a passing need.

Adding to the problem is the fact that all these new hangers leach toxins into clothing (benzene, bisphenol-a), and are made from virgin plastic, which requires tremendous resources, including water.

“We were concerned about the mass consumption in the country, but also the fact that so many products were being thrown away afterwards and so much material was going into landfills,” Barker explains.

A Greener Clothes Keeper

Barker and his partner Larry Chernicoff decided to do something about it. They founded Greenheart Global with an eye toward rethinking sustainable product design, and a B-Corp, Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions, to focus specifically on hangers and other display items in the retail space.

Barker knows this problem well. He spent years designing and licensing products to manufacturers, but eventually tired of having no control over which materials were used to make them. This time, he wanted to have a say in what went into the things he created.

Barker and Chernicoff’s basic idea was to replace toxic materials with nontoxic recycled substitutes, and reverse-design products so they’d be 100% recyclable and reclaimable. In other words, Ditto designs for the recycling process, succeeding where so many others fall short by ensuring that at the end of its life, a product can be fully reclaimed.

After 2.5 years of research and development and more than 30 patents, they landed on the Ditto Sustainable Hanger. It’s made of 100% recycled compressed-paper fiberboard, which makes it exceptionally durable, capable of holding more than 20 pounds. Best of all, it can be recycled anywhere.

The Proof Is In the … Paper?

Ditto knew their fiberboard hanger was more sustainable than those unrecyclable clear plastic ones, but they wanted numbers. How much more sustainable were they, really?

An obvious comparison was Ditto Hangers versus the plastic ones used in traditional garment shipping programs, so that’s where they started.

“We tested our Ditto Hanger in these shipping programs and found that our hanger actually works better in these systems,” Barker says. The Ditto hanger saves up to 20% in shipping costs because they’re less bulky, fits over 50% more garments in stores because they’re thinner, and is 100% zero-waste because they can be recycled anywhere.

“Designing intelligent products means our hanger is not only more sustainable,” Barker adds, “but saves millions in shipping and retailing costs. We think our new discovery will doom the plastic retail hanger forever.”

Sending the Right Message

Barker is quick to emphasize that Ditto is so much more than a a “green” hanger.

Ditto is also Italian for “to say”, apt considering the brand potential of these hangers. Their flat paper surfaces offer space for companies to imprint their logos or slogans, sparking product recognition as well as catching the attention of ecologically-minded shoppers. This truly creates a whole new use for in-store hangers.

“We’re completely redesigning what a retail hanger should be,” Barker says. “That’s sustainable design in a nutshell: Looking at a product, the way it’s used, the way it’s disposed of, and imaging new functions.”

The World is Taking Note

Barker’s work has nabbed attention around the world. They’ve won numerous international industrial design awards, as well as a California Product Stewardship Arrow Award and another from Acterra, also devoted to environmental stewardship.

“The Acterra award opened up our visibility to companies,” Barker says. “Marin Sanitary contacted us, and we ended up designing a collection system for batteries and fluorescent tubes for them. We were able to go outside the hanger sphere.”

The Power to Change is In Your Hands

According to Barker, there’s no end in sight to Ditto’s innovations. In the meantime, the biggest thing consumers can do is tell companies, “no plastic.” Barker relays a story about a major children’s clothing retailer who uses 480 million plastic hangers a year, but said they won’t switch to Ditto – despite measurable cost savings – until their customers tell them to.

The power is in our hands. And in that sense, Ditto may have another meaning: It’s up to us to say that we want something better for the world. Something Ditto.

Often waste is right under our noses, and we never even know it. The amount of plastic hangers that go to landfills each year is staggering, and it’s time we did something about it! Support Ditto in their mission of changing one of the most wasteful parts of the fashion industry.

 

The Ditto Smart Hanger Brings a New Era to the Retail Hanger

Major Launch at National Retail Federation

January 17, 2018

The Ditto Smart Hanger is launching this week at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) “Big Show” in New York City January 14 - 16, 2018.

The innovative Ditto Smart Hanger transforms the retail hanger into a data-intensive tracking, marketing and branding opportunity never before possible with traditional retail hangers.

A strategic partnership with OIA Global, a leading worldwide logistics, packaging, and materials sourcing provider; Digimarc Corporation (NASDAQ: DMRC), inventor of The Barcode of Everything™; and Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions, the Ditto Smart Hangers features an imperceptible Digimarc Barcode, ushering in a new era of retail, logistics and marketing opportunities.

At any point along the logistics, operations, retail or sales cycle, the Ditto Smart Hanger can be quickly and accurately read with hand-held scanners, wall-mounted cameras or by a consumer smartphone for point-specific data collection.

Made from 100% recyclable fiberboard, the Ditto Smart Hanger is up to 20% more efficient than plastic hangers in shipping Garments On Hanger programs, reduces carbon footprint, improves product security and provides customers with Smartphone access to brand-generated content.
Visit the Digimarc Booth at the National Retail Federation “Big Show” (#2875) to learn more about how the Ditto Smart Hanger will soon be transforming apparel shipping, retail sales and consumer brand loyalty.

For more information and samples, please visit At any point along the logistics, operations, retail or sales cycle, the Ditto Smart Hanger can be quickly and accurately read with hand-held scanners, wall-mounted cameras or by a consumer smartphone for point-specific data collection.

Made from 100% recyclable fiberboard, the Ditto Smart Hanger is up to 20% more efficient than plastic hangers in shipping Garments On Hanger programs, reduces carbon footprint, improves product security and provides customers with Smartphone access to brand-generated content.
Visit the Digimarc Booth at the National Retail Federation “Big Show” (#2875) to learn more about how the Ditto Smart Hanger will soon be transforming apparel shipping, retail sales and consumer brand loyalty.

For more information and samples, please visit http://bit.ly/2B4xN1r.

 

How Switching to Sustainable Retail Hangers Can Benefit Your Company in 4 Ways?

4 Significant Benefits by Going Green with your Retail Hanger

September 28, 2015

Plastic retail hangers haven’t been changed in over 60 years. They’re so hated by retail floor staff and consumers alike that it’s a wonder they’re still in use. They’re mistakenly considered to be cheap. But the real cost of a plastic retail hanger is more than the price paid for it.

Green product design company, Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions has reimagined the much despised retail hanger to work better, more efficiently and with 100% zero waste.

How much of a game-changer is the new sustainable hanger in retail platforms? Here are 4 ways that an ecological hanger can change a retailer’s bottom line:

1. Increased Sales –
By swapping out to a new, sustainable hanger, retailers can fit up to 50% more garments on retail racks. More product = increased sales. Sustainable hangers also speak to a younger more discriminating client who shop their convictions.

2. Marketing/Branding Add-ons –
Sustainable Hangers add a new marketing platform to show your brand’s ecological initiatives. The added room for information, the ability to match your company’s brand look, all focus attention on your green efforts and philosophy. Hangers with QR codes can go home with the consumer, who can scan them later to find out about future sales, special promotions, new lines or even fill out surveys.

3. Shipping Savings –
For apparel companies that ship their garments on hangers, sustainable hangers can save up to 20% and more in shipping costs. Spread out across the entire logistical chain (more garments in cartons, trucks and containers; fewer man hours loading and unloading; less room taken in distribution centers) the savings end up paying for themselves.

4. 100% Zero Waste –
85% of plastic hangers are thrown out at retail stores. Sustainable Hangers are recyclable both at the retail level (with cardboard boxes) or at the consumer’s curbside collection service. Add on their only using recycled material (unlike virgin plastic for regular retail hangers) and the benefits are enormous.


OIA Global (www.oiaglobal.com), a provider of worldwide logistics, packaging, and materials sourcing and Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions (DittoSBS.com), a green product design company, have announced a joint marketing agreement creating an innovative program for shipping and retailing called Garments on Ditto. This breakthrough is engineered to make shipping on hangers, commonly known as “Garments on Hanger” (GOH) far more efficient and will allow retailers to replace the billions of one-use, virgin plastic hangers now going into landfills every year.

 

Global Trade Magazine Lauds Garments on Ditto

Global Trade Magazine Reports on OIA and Ditto's Garments on Ditto Program

September 21, 2015

Global Trade Magazine, an industry leader in international logistics, reports on OIA Global and Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions breakthrough Garments on Ditto Program.

 

Ditto & OIA Global go Live with Garments on Ditto!

Garments On Ditto reinvents shipping, marketing and retailing clothing for the retail world.

July 24, 2015

OIA Global, the leading provider of worldwide logistics, packaging, and materials sourcing and green product design company and Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions have announced a joint marketing agreement creating an innovative program for shipping and retailing called Garments on Ditto.

This breakthrough program ships garments far more efficiently and will allow retailers to replace the billions of one-use, virgin plastic hangers now going into landfills every year. Steve Akre, OIA’s EVP of Business Development said “retailers can reduce shipping and warehousing costs up to 20% and achieve significant sustainability advances using the Garments on Ditto program.”

Garments on Ditto is a truly industry-changing program that eliminates the wasteful and toxic trend of shipping clothing on plastic retail hangers and replacing them with a sustainable and recyclable alternative providing multiple benefits such as:

• More Sustainable/Efficient Shipping: Up to 20% more efficient with savings in all shipping costs.

• More Sales per Retail Square Foot: Up to 50% more garments hung in retail stores.

• More Marketing Add-0ns: 100% more marketing value with branding, messaging and QR codes that go home with the consumer.

• Zero Waste: 100% recyclable either at the retail store or in consumers' curbside recycling programs.

• 100% Nontoxic: Soy-based inks and starch-based adhesives – no heavy metals, chlorine, or formaldehyde.

Ditto’s innovations team worked closely with OIA Global to design a program that proved Garments on Ditto significantly reduces the cost of shipping at every step of the logistics chain, from overseas clothing manufacturer to retail sales to disposal of the hanger at the store. And the program brings with it a previously unheard of ability to market and communicate with consumers in new and exciting ways.

Key to this program is the Ditto Hanger, made from 100% recycled paper fiberboard. Tested for over 8 years in retail stores around the world, the Ditto Hanger is extremely durable, has marketing and retail benefits not possible with plastic hangers and is 100% recyclable anywhere.

For the last 30 years more and more companies are shipping clothing to the United States on single-use, plastic hangers in a program called “Garments on Hangers” (GOH). Studies have shown that 85% of all retail plastic hangers are thrown out at the store level, resulting in a staggering 34 billion plastic hangers going into landfills annually (enough to fill 19.6 Empire State Buildings). That translates to 19.4 million virgin plastic retail hangers being thrown away at stores across the country every day.

“Most people think those plastic hangers in stores are used over and over again.”, said Ditto’s founder and CEO, Gary Barker. “In Garments on Hanger programs, the plastic hanger is put on the clothing overseas and shipped to the store in the US. Once the garment is sold, there’s no reuse for the plastic hanger, so into the dumpster it goes.

“We were able to show that this cheap, single-use plastic hanger isn’t as cheap as we thought, actually costing almost 10 cents more per garment to ship, including the remarkable 3-cent cost to dispose of each plastic hanger – retailers are paying a premium to send tons of plastic to our landfills.” With cost savings like this, and the additional marketing and retail benefits, Garments on Ditto not only costs less, but is good for the environment as well.

“We consider the Garments on Ditto program a good example of solving major problems by simply being smarter in the way products and systems are designed.”

The Garments on Ditto program launches in August 2015.

Contact Gary Barker at 510.261.7343 or gbarker@garmentsonditto.com

Garments on Ditto is a innovations partnership with OIA Global and Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions.

 

Hazardous Waste Collection Containers for Home Use

Arrow Award leads to collaboration and development of innovative and green household hazardous waste collection containers for home use

June 29, 2015

A collaboration between three organizations has led to the design and production of a set of simple collection containers for batteries and fluorescent bulbs that are easy for Marin County residents to use in their homes. The new collection containers designed by Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions will be made available by the Marin Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility to their residential customers starting this July.

Ditto and the Marin HHW Facility joined forces after Ditto won the 2013 Green Arrow award from the California Product Stewardship Council. The Green Arrow Award is given to companies that redesign products to reduce toxics and be recyclable.

“We were very excited when we heard we won the 2013 Green Arrow Award from the California Product Stewardship Council,” said Ditto’s founder and CEO Gary Barker. “Ditto’s core mission is to design beautiful and non-toxic products and do it in a way that keeps them out of landfills and the Award is a recognition of that effort,” said Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC). “Perhaps one of the best advantages to winning the award is the collaboration and networking opportunities provided through ongoing support from CPSC to encourage like-minded companies to work together.”

And collaboration is exactly what happened when the Marin HHW Facility was looking for new outreach materials that wouldn’t just be tossed into a landfill. “When I was looking to produce unique, consumer recycling bins for batteries and fluorescent bulbs, I remembered learning about Ditto through a meeting arranged by CPSC. I was so inspired by Ditto’s stewardship that I knew right away that Ditto was the right company to partner with,” said Kathy Wall, Marin HHW Facility’s Household Hazardous Waste Coordinator. Marin County and the City of San Rafael have both adopted a goal to be zero waste by 2025.

“We worked closely with Kathy to come up with a set of collection boxes that were fun, informative and practical at the home level,” said Barker. “The idea was to design a simple collection bin for the batteries and fluorescent bulbs, then cover the surface with bold graphics and facts about recycling.”

According to Wall, “Our goal was to make recycling easy and fun while educating consumers on how to keep harmful substances out of landfills and Ditto has helped us do that!”

The benefit of receiving the Green Arrow Award goes far beyond the plaque that hangs on Ditto’s wall. “It’s a confirmation of their mission statement of intelligent product design and an entry into the club of other companies working to innovate ways to keep precious materials out of landfills and in the materials loop,” said Sanborn. “The collaboration of Ditto, the Marin HHW Facility and CPSC shows just what can be accomplished when like-minded organizations work together.”

If you live in Marin County and would like a battery or a fluorescent bulb box for safe and convenient collection in your home, please call the Marin HHW Facility at 415-485-6806. Arrow Awards Applications are easy to complete and 2015 applications are due Midnight Monday June 29th from CPSC’s website at www.calpsc.org

 
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