Just about everyone is on board with incorporating new environmentally friendly habits into their everyday life- paper straws and reusable cups and bottles being the latest additions to our handbag essentials.
One of our biggest changes in working towards our goal to reduce carbon footprint is learning what can be recycled, how it should be recycled, and reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.
When it comes to clothing, it’s difficult to know exactly where everything should end up. Deciding what to do with work clothing is even more difficult as it’s not something you can pass on to family and friends. This begs the question of what we should be doing with our work uniforms once we’ve grown out of them, worn them down, or straight up ruined them.
Unfortunately, our domestic bins still aren’t efficient enough to separate clothing from general waste. In most cases, throwing clothing into our own bins would contaminate the garments and result in them being unable to be recycled anyway. On top of this, throwing your unwanted garments into the general waste is an unnecessary waste (excuse the pun!) when these items could be used again instead of polluting the earth.
Whilst we cannot recycle garments from the comfort of our own home, there are clothing banks available where your worn work clothes can be taken. These should present you with peace of mind that they will be recycled correctly and provided with a renewed purpose. Clothing banks are situated up and down the country in most supermarkets and local car parks. Ultimately, there’s never one too far away to prevent you from recycling your old company uniforms.
One of the best things about clothing is that there will always be someone after you who will want them or be able to make the most out of them. Of course, with work clothes, you must be considerate that they need to be donated appropriately. For instance, you may choose to donate your hi vis workwear and padded cargo trousers to a generic charity, the demand for these garments are always high and do the same job no matter what company you work for. If you would prefer for someone else to make the decision on who would get the most use out of them, charities such as TRAID arrange home collections for any unwanted clothes. Once the charity acquires these garments, they transform them into high quality stock to be sold in their charity shops throughout the UK.
If the garments are still in good condition, ask your colleagues if they would like to add the items to their workwear wardrobe. You’re helping to save them a few extra pennies and branded uniforms can be especially difficult to pass on to anyone else.
Sometimes it’s not possible to donate your work uniforms to someone else and sometimes it’s worth looking into other ways that you can get the most out of your money. Repurposing your old clothes is a great way to invest your time. You’ll find yourself with a new hobby to occupy you and a new garment or accessory without spending a penny.
Examples of how you can repurpose your workwear:
- Smart shirts can be repurposed into everyday tops by removing the sleeves and collar.
- Shred hi vis garments and polo tops into cleaning cloths.
- Turn cargo work trousers into a reusable bag for life.
- Upcycle sweaters into soft pillow and cushion cases.
What to do with branded uniforms?
To maximise the safety and security of your workplace, remember to de-label branded work uniforms. Often, the company logo on your work uniform is either embroidered or heat-sealed, therefore it is possible to unstitch or peel off the label.
Ensure you do this before discarding of your corporate garments, otherwise you could run the risk of others being able to impersonate an employee and jeopardise the security of your company and colleagues.
All in all, when looking to dispose of your work uniform or any clothing, you’ll always have the option to either recycle, donate or repurpose. To look after our planet and get the most out of your money, consider one of these options before throwing them in the bin.