Recycling old uniforms: companies apply circular economy to textiles

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

How much of a company’s reputation depends on the look of its employees? A lot, of course, but today more than ever. A new sustainable practice is finding its way in companies: the recycling of uniforms.

This choice contributes to showcasing the company’s commitment to circular economy and ecosustainability. Several solutions have been developed in the corporate sector to pursue innovation in all its forms.

Air France, France’s leading airline and one of the world’s most important air carriers, promoted an original initiative to recycle the fabric of its employees’ old uniforms. The experiment started in the airports of Orly and Charles De Gaulle. Uniforms are collected, sent to specialized centers, and treated as raw materials to produce cement granules. As many as 8.56 tons of textiles were recycled so far: this allowed to save 48,509 kWh of energy on the production of pellet, and create 1.28 tons of cement.

Meanwhile, in South Wales, Australia, a group of companies is testing a new recycling method to transform old working clothes into new textiles on an industrial scale. The program is called Circular Threads: it has been funded for several millions by the Environmental Protection Agency, and it aims at becoming a self-sustained industry able to produce textiles and construction materials from recycling processes.

We know that in New South Wales alone there’s about 150,000 tonnes of textiles going to landfill every year and we know that 64 per cent of those textiles are man-made fibres and the remainder is wool and cotton, and there’s no reason why any of these materials should end up in landfill – says Tom Davies, Circular Threads’ Environment Consultant – We want to establish a circular textiles industry in New South Wales which not only would be a new industry but it will be innovative new materials and diverting away from landfill”.

Circular economy finds innovative ways to create new jobs: this is the next step to take towards a sustainable future.

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