Two transport companies that successfully recycle uniforms

Aileen's Uniform Atlas, Sustainability

The Pulse is pleased to introduce Aileen’s Uniform Atlas, a new recurring feature written by Aileen Out.
Out is the owner of Prettybusiness, a news blog in the Netherlands that focuses exclusively on work clothing.

Uniform recycling has become increasingly popular in recent years. And that’s a good thing, because it reduces the impact of textiles on the environment. You would expect that announcing such an initiative would only benefit a company’s reputation. However, the positive impact on your image depends not only on the way you recycle the textiles, but also on the way you communicate this effort. Both the British railway company Northern and the Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific have dealt with this smartly. Both in their own unique way. 

The commercial value of recycling

This month, Northern issued a press release about their recycling program. The company says it has disposed of a total of 10,000 kilos of textiles in the past twelve months. 

The railway company shredded the clothing and processed it into various products. This is a simple recycling method because you can outsource the entire process. As long as the old clothing does not return in products where it is visibly recognizable, you do not have to do anything after delivery of the textiles. The disadvantage is that the recycling process becomes less visible to the public.

That’s why Northern explained the exact impact in their press release. They mentioned recycling 10,000 kg of textiles and indicated that this saved more than 4,000 kg of CO2 emissions. This is equivalent to driving 18,000 kilometers in an average gasoline car or burning more than 2,000 kilograms of coal. By linking and relating figures to products that consumers know, people gain a better understanding of the recycling results. And because statistics are always useful for journalists, it also ensures that the message is spread easily.

Customers feel involved

Looking at other successful recycling projects that have improved corporate image, the aviation industry comes to mind. Cathay Pacific, based in Hong Kong, for example. In 2021, the company used its old uniforms for merchandise. The products were launched in honor of Cathay Pacific’s 75th anniversary. The fabrics were made into bags, pillows and a teddy bear. Because the fabric was not shredded first, the logos and colors remained recognizable. Meanwhile, old aircraft parts were used for metal pens, card holders and aviation tags.

This way, consumers can not only see what the recycled materials are used for, but also purchase them, which provides great added value. They feel connected to both the organization and the product. Moreover, the limited edition of these products increases their value and indirectly the value of the organization.

Author: admin