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Cheap PPE and Pollution: How You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Cheap PPE and Pollution: How You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

A recent report has suggested that the textiles industry is the second biggest polluter after aviation.

What can be done to address this? Reducing your carbon footprint as a company when sourcing and using workwear and PPE for employees is a worthy consideration and one easy way to make operations more environmentally friendly. 

The Textiles 2030 Initiative

To help with reducing pollution where textiles are used across businesses in the UK, the government has launched Textiles 2030. This is an expert-led initiative which calls on the brainpower of UK leaders in sustainability to shift the focus of workwear and PPE manufacturing towards a period of change.

With collaborative climate action on the menu for the near future, it’s up to sectors across the UK involved in manufacturing, supplying, and disposing of workwear and PPE to review how these processes could be less damaging for the environment.

How can my business help?

Much of the journey towards a less impactful textiles industry on the world will involve businesses investing time into advising employees and senior company members in how to reuse and recycle workwear as much as possible. This could involve:

  • Ensuring that employees return workwear to the company when they leave so that it can be used again.
  • Educating employees not in a position to return the workwear that it can be recycled at their nearest clothing or footwear recycling point.
  • Understanding where partnerships can be made with local specialist recycling companies or charities as part of a corporate social responsibility strategy to correctly dispose of workwear and PPE.

With only around 9% of corporate workwear currently being recovered for reuse, there is huge potential here for improvement.

Reducing landfill and recycling

Because many employers and employees don’t realise that high-quality workwear can often be recycled in comparison to cheaper workwear containing fibres that can’t be effectively disposed of, creating a workplace culture of identifying and sourcing brands that use recyclable materials can be a great way to stay pro-active about eco-friendly operations.

Make sure that old uniforms and garments don’t make their way to landfill along with your general waste, and instead look at ways you can shred or cutup workwear no longer in use to be used as cleaning items.

Finally, you can also send them to textile banks if you really are unsure of their recycling potential, where they will sort through what can and cannot be recycled on your behalf.

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