Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Corn Hangers - Promotionally Challenged

A few weeks ago I wrote about Walmart's initiave to turn green. On my last trip to Walmart I wandered in the clothes' hanger section out of curiosity to see how the product range has varied since my last visit. To my surprise there wasn't much change. But it was good to see the corn hangers have a decent space for themselves, albeit a little lower than I had expected. Yes, they were in a row that was about at the knee height of a person of average height; a place where it was not quiet as noticeable as it it ought to be. Another thing that made it a little less attractive was the pricing. Can't blame Walmart entirely for it. At $3.xx for a set of 5 hangers it was about 3 times as expensive as the all plastic ones which were $0.99 for the same number. I guess, the technology is still expensive.

Missing from the Website
Another area of improvement is the placement of the product on the Walmart website. This product doesn't show up in the search result for Featured Items. I guess, it's the price that makes it a lesser candidate to show up on the site. At Walmart price is the biggest differentiator, afterall.

Made in the USA
All said, the sight of those was wonderful and pleasing. Specially, when I read "Made of 100% Corn", "100% Compostable" and the big and bold, "Grown and Made in the USA".
Walmart website image is from www.walmart.com and the image is edited with the text box and text, "Where's the Corn Hangers, Mr. Green?".


sustainableisgood said...

Interesting observations on these hangers - both Walmart & Merrick (product manufacturers) do not provide much info at all on these. You'd expect the opposite with a product such as this. I wonder if there is a supply issue or they are being test marketed in certain stores?

Anonymous said...

We're a sustainable product development company with our first product being 100% recyclable hangers,named Ditto. We were going to make hangers out of bio-plastic but all our research revealed a long list of problems with this new material:

Corn based plastic is only compostable in municipal composting facilities with temperatures that reach 140ยบ for 10 consecutive days, an environment not possible in home composting.

Most of the country does not have municipal composting programs.

Should bio-plastic get into regular plastic recycling it will foul the entire batch and render it unrecyclable.

If bio-plastic is not composted in a landfill will last as long as oil based plastic (1000+ years).

Corporate agriculture methods have some of the highest toxicity rates from pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers.

Sadly the time is not right for this new material. We hope in the years ahead, however, that it will be.

Gary Barker
GreenHeart Global