Dear Ace: The good folks at Brown’s Dry Cleaners claim they are not allowed to recycle metal hangers. My husband and I collect them by the dozens each month and it makes me sick to think of piles of hangers going nowhere but the landfill. Also, one other cleaner—now defunct Terra Bella—used to recycle hangers. So, is this a line of bunk or is Brown’s telling the truth? If they are, where in Charlottesville can we donate or recycle hangers?—Reba C. Eikel
Reba: Ace was a little disappointed to hear that Brown’s is pulling a bit of a Mommie Dearest when it comes to recycling wire hangers ("No more wire hangers, ever!"), so he put in a few calls. Thirteen, to be exact. Two didn’t answer, one number was disconnected, and one still plagues him: After dialing the number, an automated voice came on the line and, very matter-of-factly, said, "This call will cost $15. You have…two hours and…11 minutes for this call." Needless to say, Ace hung up fairly fast. He can’t have a charge like that showing up on his phone bill. …Again.
Nine of the other calls to local dry cleaning establishments were very positive: They all recycle wire hangers! There are a few catches, though. As the woman at Forest Lakes Cleaners told Ace, she’d have to see the hangers first to decide whether or not she could take them. Sometimes, if the hangers come from a different place but look the same, they’ll take them anyway. When you take them in, you have to be sure they’re all facing the same way and there’s a string tied around them. That sounds awfully specific to Ace, but who is he to argue?
The last call, to ensure your (freshly laundered?) knickers didn’t stay in a knot, was to the "good folks" at Brown’s. Ace wanted to make sure they weren’t liars, liars (pants on fires) and as it turns out, they’re not. They just can’t see putting clean clothes on used hangers and, indeed, they’re no longer allowed to take them back after they’ve left the store. But don’t worry, dear reader, Brown’s suggests that you take your hangers to a laundromat adjacent to the cleaner’s (one can be found near every Brown’s location), as customers there like to have them. Ace, on the other hand, suggests you keep them. It’s getting chilly out, and nothing makes a marshmallow roasted in the fireplace taste better than a flattened out wire hanger that used to hold a $300 dress, unless you’re asking Joan Crawford.