man fixing roof in workwear.
Corporate Workwear Recycling

Corporate Workwear Recycling and Disposal

Corporate workwear covers any type of clothing companies provide their employees to wear and represent the business. Over time such clothing will experience general wear and tear, damage, and may be replaced by new and updated designs. Recycling old uniforms and workwear in a sustainable way is vital to avoid adding to landfill.

Thankfully, there are ways you can recycle uniforms and other corporate clothing to run a more sustainable organisation. Learn all about uniform recycling and proper corporate workwear disposal with our answers to some of your frequently asked questions below.

Contact us or call 0800 211 8390 for a free quote to recycle uniforms from your organisation today.

How to recycle uniforms

Most uniforms class as textile waste so can be recycled alongside other clothes. However, as a business, your old work uniforms must be disposed of like any other commercial waste. This means only licensed waste carriers can transport corporate workwear and uniforms for recycling. You can recycle uniforms by arranging collection with Business Waste.

Estimate how many old uniforms or other workwear you need to get rid of and we’ll provide free bins to store them in – you just pay for collection. We’ll deliver the bins to your business wherever you’re based in the UK, whatever industry you work in, and recycle uniforms of any size, type, and condition.

Fill each bin with your old uniforms and any other clothes your business has for recycling within their weight limits. Then arrange collection at a time and day that suits you. Our licensed waste carriers will remove your clothes bins and transport them to a nearby Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).

Here your uniforms are recycled by being sorted into different fabrics. They’re then processed based on their type and recycled into new fabrics for many uses, such as to create new clothes, car insulation, and furniture padding.

Learn about textile recycling

What should employees 
do with old work uniforms?

If you’re leaving a business, have grown out of your current uniform, or it’s too damaged to wear, then you should return it to your employer. They will arrange what happens to it next. Depending on its condition they might pass it on to another employee. If it’s too badly damaged, then it should be sent for recycling.

There are a few other things you can do if you’ve already left the company and still have your old uniform but can’t return it to your previous employer:

  • Wear it for decorating, DIY, gardening, and other jobs where you don’t mind that it’ll get dirty.
  • Donate to charity – if it’s branded, try to find one that will send it to people in need overseas.
  • Use it as animal bedding or fashion a coat or chew toy for your dog.
  • Cut out strips of the fabric and turn them into accessories.
  • Cover up any logos with badges or patches and refashion them into a new item for your wardrobe.
Learn how to recycle clothes

Recycling and disposal 
alternatives for uniforms

If your uniforms are unbranded and they’re in decent condition, you could donate them to charity. The risk with donating branded uniforms is that you don’t know where they’ll end up. Many charities will accept unbranded old corporate workwear and uniforms to sell in their stores. Some charities even accept branded uniforms that they give to those in need in the UK or overseas.

Depending on the condition of the uniforms you receive back from employees you might be able to wash them and give them to another worker. This saves energy and materials to create more uniforms – and money for your business. However, carefully check the condition of such clothing before deciding if they can be worn by other employees.

workman in orange jumpsuit.

Arrange workwear recycling 
for your business

Recycle any workwear from your company with ease, whether you’ve got worn-out old boots from factory workers, damaged shirts from the shop floor, or catering uniforms from the restaurant or hotel kitchen. Find a solution for workwear recycling whatever type and amount of corporate clothing you need to get rid of.

We’ll provide a free no obligation quote based on the type and amount of clothing, as well as your location. Our licensed waste carriers can collect your old uniforms from businesses based anywhere in the UK.

We can also help you dispose of workwear made from any material – from cotton shirts to polyester jumpers, leather boots, and more.

Contact us online or call 0800 211 8390 to speak to one of our friendly and expert team. They can answer any questions about the uniforms you want to recycle and advise on the best bin sizes and collection schedules. Get in touch for your free workwear recycling quote today.

Get your free quote today

Corporate workwear recycling

  • What type of waste is corporate workwear?

    Corporate workwear is a type of textile waste. As it’s essentially clothing waste but with specific business branding, you can normally dispose of it with any other textile waste if it’s in a clean and dry condition. Items such as hard hats and metal belt buckles may class as another form of waste – such as metal waste.

  • How do you dispose of corporate workwear?

    Many people don’t realise there are options to recycle or donate corporate workwear and other clothing. Wherever possible you should avoid sending old workwear uniforms to landfill – don’t throw them away with your general waste. Instead, there are numerous ways that corporate workwear can be reused and repurposed.

    For example, it can be shredded or cut up and used for cleaning rags or insulation. Some companies will upcycle old uniforms to create new, high-quality ones ready to use once more. And if your corporate workwear is in a good condition, it may simply be cleaned and given to a new employee.

  • What are the problems with corporate workwear disposal?

    Millions of items of corporate workwear are sent to landfill sites or for incineration every year. This means they contribute significantly to the release of harmful gases into the environment – whether they rot in landfill or from the fumes released via burning. It also proves resources are not being used effectively.

    Old uniform recycling, reusing, or repurposing offers a simple way to avoid such problems.

  • What happens to corporate workwear after disposal?

    Once you’ve disposed of corporate workwear, textile recycling begins. Garments are collected through clothing banks, charity shops, local recycling centres, and door-to-door collections. Many retailers even offer customers the chance to donate their clothes in-store. This will then be repurposed or reused in various methods.

    If you put corporate workwear in with general waste it will either go to a landfill site and rot, releasing emissions that pollute the environment, or go to incineration. Seek out disposal methods that recycle old work uniforms instead. Contact Business Waste to get rid of your old workwear in a sustainable way.

  • What is corporate workwear made from?

    Corporate workwear is often made from synthetic fibres like polypropylene, polyester, polyethylene, and polyurethane. This is because they’re cost-effective and highly durable. As corporate workwear covers a wide variety of clothing types, it can be made from cotton, wool, and many other materials – usually depending on the specific item of clothing.

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

    There are a few eco-friendly alternatives to disposing of corporate workwear in landfill or incineration:

    • Donate your corporate workwear to textile banks where they’ll decide what can be recycled. Usually, you can’t recycle all the material because it’s made up of a mixed blend, but they’ll recycle as much as possible.
    • Return your old uniform to your employer when you leave. This ensures your clothes can be used by the individual who replaces 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 hard to impossible to recycle.
    • Shred down the workwear into a more fibrous form and sell them on a domestic market. This means the rags can be used again for gardening or cleaning purposes. De-branding and re-selling are a great way to give old clothing away without it feeling like second-hand.
  • Who invented corporate workwear?

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

  • What are some facts about corporate workwear disposal?

    A few key facts about corporate workwear recycling and disposal are that:

    • 350,000 tonnes of used but wearable clothing is sent to landfill sites each year in the UK. This means around 30% of your unwanted clothes go to landfill sites.
    • Around 33 million corporate workwear clothes are provided each year.
    • About 90% of used corporate workwear is sent to incineration or to landfill sites.
    • Around 700,000 tonnes of clothing are sent to textile banks, recycling centres, and charities each year. This could fill 459 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
    • More than 100,000 clothes are sold to be re-used each year.

Learn about more 
waste types

Find out more about other rubbish streams.

Read our guides to waste types
free bins icon.

Get a fast and free quote

Get a fast FREE quote for your textile waste

  • Free quote within 1 hr
  • Any type of clothing waste
  • FREE bins and delivery
  • We cover all of the UK

Read our latest news

rear end loader graphic.

Front vs Rear End Loaders

Need a big bin to store lots of commercial waste? Discover the difference between front and rear end loader bins to work out which is best for your business.