FAQ about Mannequin Recycling
1 Why is mannequin recycling necessary?
“The apparel industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, second only to the oil industry,” said retailer Eileen Fisher in this article about the fashion industry and its responsbiity for its pollution.
While most of the pollution is generated in the pre-production stage of producing clothing, there is a significant amount of environmental waste generated at the store level.
This video by Circa news, which included an interview with me, illustrates what happens to the inventory and store fixtures when a retail store closes. It is not pretty.
2 Is it expensive to recycle mannequins?
We recycle mannequins FREE of charge. This includes dress forms, mannequin torsos, legs, heads and jewelry forms.
Customers bring or ship their unwanted mannequins to our facility or at a location of our affiliates in other states.
We eliminate the cost retailers would have to pay on waste disposal fees for the large dumpsters needed to dispose of mannequins.
Sometimes we can arrange to pick up the manneqins at the store.
3 What cities is mannequin recycling available?
Mannequin Madness is located in the SF Bay Area.
We have affiliates in most major cities in the U.S. and Canada who assist us in recycling mannequins in other locations.
We are like the FTD of mannequins - one phone call and to us and we can faciitate mannequin recycling on a national level.
4 Why are stores throwing away their mannequins?
Mannequin styles change just like clothing styles change. This is how a mannequin that is still in good condition can end up in the dumpster, it is out of style.
The average life span of a mannequin in a retail chain is about 7 years. Other reasons why mannequins are thrown away are:
-a retailer is closing underperforming locations
-the retailer went bankrupt
- the mannequin gets damaged by a customer or employee and it is not worth repairing
-a new management team wants to change the visual displays that the previous team installed
5 What do you do with the used mannequins ?
Technically we repurpose (rather than recycle) mannequins. We extend their life cycle by reselling them.
We believe in the circular economy which is essentially “finding a new use for an old thing in its existing form.”
We resell the used mannequins at a deeply discounted price from their original cost.
This allows small retailers and museums to stretch their visual merchandising budget.
6 So mannequins are not really recyclable?
There are companies that recycle mannequins by stripping them of all the fittings and materials that can be processed.
The mannequin is then put in a grinder. (Note this only works for mannequins not dress forms.)
This process, which is NOT cheap, requires mass transportation to the plants, where they are granulated and used for fuel and in cement.
Anything that is ground up and put into cement we question the environmental impact of burning such materials, due to their toxic fumes when incinerating.
7 Do you ever have mannequins that you can’t use?
We have a zero waste policy for the mannequins we recycle.
If mannequins are damaged or missing parts they are resold for Halloween Projects. Burning Man displays or various DIY projects .
You can see lots of creative ways people upcycle mannequins on our Facebook group: Crafty Projects with Mannequins.