Corporate workwear disposal and recycling

While it’s not entirely certain when workwear uniforms came into practice, the first-ever examples to be recorded are liveries. This was corporate workwear handed to servants from 1500-1800 in European courts. The range of form, colours and decorations determined what house the servant belonged to. It also functioned as a way to determine distinction and rank.

What is corporate workwear made from?

Corporate workwear tends to be made from synthetic fibres that are traditionally used like polypropylene, polyester, polyethylene and polyurethane due to their cost-effectiveness and excellent performance.

work clothes recycling

Facts about corporate workwear disposal

• 350,000 tonnes of used but wearable clothing is sent to landfill sites each year in the UK. This means that around 30% of your unwanted clothes go to landfill sites.

• Around 700,000 tonnes of clothing are sent to textile banks, recycling centres, and charities each year. Did you know that this amount could fill 459 Olympic-sized swimming pools?

• 57% of individuals say that they recycle clothing.

Problems with corporate workwear disposal

Around 33 million corporate workwear clothes are provided each year and around 90% of them are sent to incineration or to landfill sites. This means they contribute significantly to the release of harmful materials into the environment. It also proves that resources are not being used nor utilised effectively.

How do you dispose of corporate workwear?

Method 1: Reduce landfill

Many people don’t know that they have options to recycle or donate clothing items. For this reason, they send their corporate workwear to landfills. Whenever it’s possible, you should avoid sending old workwear uniforms to landfills. In other words, don’t throw them away with your general waste items.

Method 2: Recycle

There are numerous ways that corporate workwear could be reused and repurposed. For example, it can be shredded or cut up and used for cleaning rags or insulation. Some companies will even upcycle the old uniforms to create new, high-quality ones that are ready to use once more.

What are some eco-friendly alternatives to dispose of corporate workwear?

Option 1: Donate your corporate workwear to textile banks where they’ll decide what can be recycled and what can’t. Usually, you can’t recycle all the material because it’s made up of a mixed blend, so that is something to keep in mind.

Option 2: Corporate workwear is given to employees by an employer. So, as an employee, when you leave your job, you should return your old uniform to them. This will ensure that your clothes can be used by the individual who has replaced you. If they don’t want it returned, then recycle your workwear at a clothing recycling point. Additionally, employers should make it their responsibility to make uniforms that don’t use blended fibres – which are often next to impossible to recycle.

Option 3: Shred down textile items into a more fibrous form and sell them on a domestic market. This means that the rags can be used again for gardening or cleaning purposes. De-branding and re-selling is a great way to give second-hand clothing away without it feeling like second-hand.

What happens to corporate workwear after they have been disposed of?

Once you’ve disposed of corporate workwear, textile recycling will begin. How? Garments will be collected through clothing banks, charity shops, local recycling centres, and door-to-door collections. Many retailers will even offer customers the chance to donate their clothes in-store. This will then be repurposed or reused. Did you know that more than 100,000 clothes are sold to be re-used each year? And the good news is – that this amount is increasing each year.

If you’re thinking of recycling your corporate workwear, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert and friendly team for all your corporate workwear disposal and recycling needs today.

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