Automotive manufacturers Honda recently revealed how end-of-life workwear from their US manufacturing and R&D facilities is being saved from going to landfill. Instead, the garments are shredded into fibres that are repurposed as sound-absorbing insulation in Honda and Acura vehicles.
For an industry that is constantly in the spotlight to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, this is excellent news. Honda claims that this new initiative is saving 40,000 pounds (20,412 kg) of textiles per month from going to landfill and is a big step towards their long-term goals of 100% sustainable materials used in manufacturing and zero environmental impact.
Is Workwear Recycling Available In The UK?
Yes, our SECUREBRAND® textile recycling service provides coverage across the UK, already working with large brands in the fashion, security, healthcare, construction and automotive sectors
SECUREBRAND is designed to remove the difficulties associated with storing and disposing of end-of-life workwear.
- Our lockable consoles provide secure, tidy storage
- Our security-vetted personnel regularly empty the consoles to prevent overfilling
- All garments are fully recycled, following a 3-level protocol (more about that later)
- We provide detailed certification of all collections and recycling to assist with environmental audits
We additionally offer all-inclusive, secure services for the destruction and recycling of paper-based documents, IT and media.
Can’t Workwear Be Repurposed As Clothing?
In theory, the perfect solution for used workwear is to donate it to clothing banks for redistribution. In practice, this is unfeasible for several reasons.
1. A Global Glut Of Used Clothing
Well-meaning donation of clothing to those in need, particularly in other countries, has created a global crisis where mountains of surplus clothing have become an environmental issue. Added to this are the environmental and financial costs of transporting the used clothing across vast distances.
With such large volumes of textile waste, a company such as Honda would only worsen this situation.
2. IP And Brand Protection
Corporate companies place a high value on their brands, and releasing branded clothing that is soiled, worn or damaged to the public would tarnish this image.
If it falls into the wrong hands, branded workwear can also be misused to falsely represent the brand or gain access to restricted areas where commercially sensitive information may be stolen. Which is why all garments Avena collect are shredded.
Can All Workwear Be Recycled?
Workwear is manufactured from a wide range of textiles and this means we have to sort all the garments, using a 3-tier process.
· Tier 1 Reuse
These are premium-quality textiles in terms of recyclability. The length and strength of the fibres mean they can be respun into new threads and used to make new garments.
· Tier 2 Re-manufacture
This category covers fibres that are not good enough for respinning but are still valuable in manufacture (the fibres that Honda uses for its sound-absorbing insulation would fall into this category). These fibres are also used in acoustic office screens and upholstery padding.
· Tier 3 Recovery
A very small fraction of garments is unsuitable even for Level 2. This is sent to environmentally friendly incinerators, where they are used to generate energy.
By using this 3-level process we can guarantee our “zero waste-to-landfill” policy and maximise the recyclability of all garments. In all, this reduces the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by 21 times, compared with sending the waste textiles to landfill.
Where Do You See Avena In The Future?
Avena has always been at the forefront of recycling innovation, creating services that offer complete peace of mind when it comes to security and environmental responsibility.
We will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in all aspects of secure asset destruction and recycling, whether that’s your branded workwear, paper-based confidential documents or IT hardware and media.
We are also committed to our “zero waste-to-landfill” policy, seeking ways in which we can eliminate environmentally harmful practices in waste disposal and help create circularity to drive sustainability.
We will also continue to develop systems that enable you to document and measure your environmental performance. One example of this is our specialised environmental impact statements (EIS) which calculate the CO2 savings you make by using our services.
What Are You Doing With Your End-Of-Life Workwear?
If you are providing your workforce with branded workwear it’s important for your commercial interests and the environment that you dispose of it responsibly.
We tailor SECUREBRAND to your needs, providing a streamlined, professional service that helps you maintain efficiency, security and environmental stewardship.
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