Recycling clothes hangers while hanging close together with an organization that employs people with intellectual disabilities
In 2018, 1.5 million hangers passed through Okaïdi stores and warehouses. Some did not always manage to, er, hang on. Up till then, all used hangers, whatever their condition, were gathered up and simply thrown away.
Sure there was a better way, the equipment purchasing staff set up a system in line with Okaïdi’s CSR ethos, known as HESSERBraC (Human, Entrepreneurial, Social, Societal and Environmental Responsibility of our Brands dedicated to Children). Now surplus hangers are sent over for sorting before recycling to Le Recueil, a vocational rehabilitation concern run by Les Papillons Blancs de Roubaix-Tourcoing.
In 2018, 150,000 Okaïdi hangers were sorted in this way.
The charity’s two premises are staffed by 200 people aged 20 to 65 with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. In 2018, 150,000 Okaïdi hangers were sorted in this way. They found a second life in uses such as preparing the collections delivered to stores in sales seasons. A mutually helpful partnership much appreciated by Steve Haverbeke, workshop manager at Le Recueil:
Why work with Okaïdi?
I love the jobs Okaïdi sets us because they’re so simple. They allow us to give our folks the chance to work. That’s our first task, to enable them to feel and make themselves useful by doing a job that is suited to their abilities and lets them develop skills one step at a time.
How does it work?
Every person is given a job they can do. To give you an example, Laurent can count, so he sorts the hangers into bundles of ten. Marc can’t count, so he uses a tool to pick out ten hangers at a time. This helps him learn to match quantities to numbers. François prefers working alone, so he removes the size tags attached to each hook. And Marie performs the quality checks.
How do you actually check for quality?
We developed our own tablet app designed for people with intellectual disabilities. Once Marie understood the difference between hangers in good or bad condition, she was perfectly able to check their quality against a reference picture. Not only does our work raise self-esteem, it is also certified ISO 9001 (2015). The entire team is totally committed to quality. And we know this from the great feedback we get from Okaïdi staff.
What’s the secret to your success?
The most important thing is time. Okaïdi gives us 11 pallets of hangers to sort in three months between two seasons. This enables us to provide individual assistance to our workers, which is essential to ensuring quality and skills development. We make sure to add the skills they acquire here to their recognition of prior learning so they can later obtain a vocational training certificate or find a job.
How can we take this further?
We hope to one day provide other services we are capable of to Okaïdi. For example, when it comes to clothing we can handle labelling, tagging, order picking and packaging as well as stamping and printing in small batches. We’re quite keen on the last two because they offer the opportunity to develop a wide array of skills. And quick turnaround times.
If tomorrow I could send our folks to work directly at a company like Okaïdi, for example to do quality control, that would be a dream come true. Spread the word!
To learn more, visit https://www.papillonsblancs-rxtg.org/travail-protege-nord/esat-le-recueil/.
Find out more about it ? https://www.papillonsblancs-rxtg.org/travail-protege-nord/esat-le-recueil/