In April, the Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse will launch an online website to help maximise the recovery and reuse of corporate clothing as part of the Governments Sustainable Clothing Action Plan.
The website named www.uniformreuse.co.uk is to be launched at the NEC Corporate and Workwear Show on 1 April 2009. It aims to provide industry, corporatewear users and interested members of the public with tools and information to educate about the barriers and opportunities in relation to the reuse of corporate clothing. This includes a directory of those involved with the sustainable manufacture, procurement, collection and reprocessing of corporate clothing.
The CRR has been driving a uniform reuse project for the past year and is working to divert corporate and workwear from landfill. It is part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Sustainable Clothing Action Plan which aims to maximise textile reuse in the UK (see MRW story). The CRR claim that more than 11,000 tonnes of new garments enter the market every year and less than 10% is recovered.
CRR technical researcher Caroline Bartlett told MRW corporate branding requires corporate wear to be replaced every two to four years often in near perfect condition with little, or no wear.
She said: There are a number of issues affecting corporate clothing, one of the major ones being logoing. Whether for taxation reasons or for corporate image, work and corporatewear have a company name, logo and/or branding attached.
This can be embroidered onto the fabric, printed on, or attached as an additional piece of material that can be cut off at end-of life.
This can cause problems for reuse as some companies are concerned about image or security risks presented if the general public gain access to their old garments.
Also, much corporate clothing is produced out of synthetic materials, such as polyester. While organisations such as Teijin Fibers in Japan have a system in place for the closed loop recycling of polyester, the UK just doesnt currently have the facilities available.