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The innovation focused on was the World-First Garment Hanger Re-use Program. This program was established in 1989 by the TIC group and has transformed the way garment hangers are used, produced and re-used. The program involves TIC producing and distributing garment hangers that are used by TIC's customers, then picked up by TIC once they have been used to be either re-used or recycled for other uses and/or businesses.
The innovation focused on was the World-First Garment Hanger Re-use Program. This program has transformed the way garment hangers are used, produced and re-used. This re-use program involves a customer ordering and receiving the hangers from TIC, the hangers being used and then retained by the retail store. The hangers are then collected by TIC in large boxes and are returned including sizing and security tags. The garment hangers are then sorted, quality inspected and packed as finished stock ready to use again for other businesses. TIC's processing and operations plants span across the world, so the sorting of hangers may take place at another point of operation and then may be returned to Australia, either as a hanger or including the garment on the hanger.
This innovation improves the environmental footprint of both TIC and its customers. From this program TIC is reducing the amount of water and carbon emissions emitted and used during production of its hangers. So, TIC is reducing its impact and also the impact of its customers by this program.
The inspiration for the innovation was to reduce wastage of the hangers entering landfills; there was also a positive economic perspective, that by TIC re-using and recycling the hangers this would provide a higher benefit and lower cost to the company. The inspiration and drive for making the re-use program happen also came from the Managing Director (MD) at the time. The MD saw the potential for a re-use program when they witnessed how many of the undamaged and re-usable hangers were making their way to landfills.
The impact of the hanger re-use program is a large reduction in the amount of hangers entering landfills. TIC quotes, “If a year’s worth of re-used hangers were laid end to end, they would go around the world three times” (TIC Group, 2015), so by TIC preventing these hangers from going to landfills, and recycling them for other uses and businesses, TIC is preventing all of this waste from entering landfills. The program also reduces the amount of water and carbon emissions used and emitted in production.
This innovation benefits the business as it makes TIC more sustainable and economic as well as reducing the costs associated with manufacturing new garment hangers. This innovation is also in line with TIC’s main motto of “Sustainability through innovation” (TIC Group, 2018), the group innovates new business avenues and in turn becomes more sustainable in the way they conduct their business. This also impacts the Group’s social and environmental impact on society and the environment in a positive way.
This program improves the environment by reducing the amount of waste created and reducing waste in landfills from hangers. The environmental impact of this re-use program results in saving 34% of carbon emissions and saving 86% of water, compared to manufacturing new garment hangers (TIC Group, 2015). TIC is therefore reducing its and its customer’s impact on the environment.
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David Gold, Director - Reverse Logistics
The TIC Group has been providing services to the retail sector industry for over 28 years. TIC is a wholly owned Australian company with operations and services across the globe. TIC’s services include: retail accessories, reverse logistics, marketing solutions, healthcare and previously mattress recycling. The highlights of TIC include it being 100% Australian owned with a global presence, Australia’s largest reverse logistics network for retail returns and its World First closed loop garment hanger re-use program.