Securing The Future.

How Do I Safely Dispose Of Old Branded Uniforms?

Although workwear is made to withstand heavy usage, like all clothing it eventually wears out. It also becomes surplus when personnel leave or a new design renders old uniforms obsolete. This then raises the question of how old uniforms can be safely disposed of.

Safe Uniform Disposal To Protect The Public

Branded uniforms and workwear can serve a very valuable purpose, quickly identifying the wearer as a representative of an authority or organisation.
  • Police officers, fire crew and paramedics use their uniforms not only to protect themselves in the line of duty but to show their authority.
  • Branded corporate workwear helps us identify genuine personnel who may need to access private and business properties to carry out essential work.
  • Security personnel rely partly on branded uniforms to give them access to controlled areas.
  • Even charities are now resorting to forms of branded clothing to identify their volunteers and to assure us that they are genuinely connected with the charity when they are helping people or collecting donations.
When these uniforms become worn out, surplus or obsolete it is important that they aren’t able to fall into the wrong hands. Impersonation of a police officer – which can include wearing a police uniform in public – is a criminal offence and rightly so, but it can be equally dangerous to public safety if impersonators are passing off as members of other emergency services. We similarly need to protect the public – particularly the elderly and vulnerable – against criminals who pose as bona fide utility workers or charity volunteers to enter homes or scam money from their unsuspecting victims.

Safe Uniform Disposal To Protect Businesses

Corporate uniforms can be a valuable business asset. Personnel who are professionally attired and instantly recognisable as representatives of the company or organisation add brand value. How they behave and interact while in uniform is a reflection of the company itself. While this may not have the same security connotations, there is still potential for corporate damage if branded workwear becomes available outside the organisation.

Ways To Dispose Of Old Uniforms – The Good And The Bad

Let’s look at the various ways that old uniforms can be disposed of and compare the pros and cons of each.

Sending Old Uniforms To Charity Shops Or Clothes Banks

Clothing that is too worn to wear as a uniform – it might be starting to look a bit faded or tatty – may still have plenty of wear in it. Workwear previously worn by personnel who have left the organisation might even be almost new. As we become more aware of the environmental cost of discarding clothing, we might be tempted to donate old garments to charity shops or clothes banks. This is quite clearly not an option for uniforms from the emergency services as it would play straight into the hands of criminally-minded impersonators, but what damage could it potentially cause for businesses? If a business has decided to dispose of uniforms and workwear because it longer reflects their corporate image when worn by company personnel, they should consider the effect it might have on public perceptions to see their brand identity being promoted by members of the public whose appearance they have no control over. If the only identifying marks on uniforms are sewn-on patches, it may be easy enough to remove these before donating the garments, but if a logo is printed, embroidered or heat-applied it will be impossible to remove or obliterate it without destroying the fabric. Clothes banks may present less of a corporate risk if donations are exported to another country, particularly if the company doesn’t have a global presence, but there is another problem here: thousands of tonnes of old clothing are being exported by the West to countries in Africa and India where, rather than finding a useful second life, they are creating environmental crises on a massive scale.

Sending Old Uniforms To Textile Recyclers

Some fabrics – cotton in particular – can be cost-effectively recycled into industrial wipes. Their low lint content, high wet strength and resistance to chemical breakdown make them ideal for cleaning in the engineering and print industries, and this extends their useful life before they become landfill. However, this option is unlikely to be viable for most workwear as the fabric weights used to create hardwearing clothing will be too heavy and stiff for wiping purposes.

Sending Old Uniforms To Garment Repurposers

Another way of extending the life of old and surplus workwear is to sell or donate it to repurposers, who exploit the current zeitgeist for sustainability and make-do-and-mend to turn old clothing into new garments or fashion accessories. The rugged style of workwear is often popular, heavy-duty fabrics can be extremely versatile and a bit of creative cutting and sewing can transform old uniforms into sought-after fashion items. Companies who choose to take this more environmentally-friendly approach want assurances from the repurposers that their corporate brand will not be visible or identifiable on the new garments or products. Or, they might agree to incorporate it into the design in such a way that it enhances their brand image.

Sending Old Uniforms To A Secure Textile Destruction Company

Where security and brand reputation is at stake, this is probably the better option as a certified secure waste contractor will be able to provide the added assurance that no branded uniforms or workwear falls into the wrong hands. SecureBrand® from Avena Group offers fully audited, secure destruction of garments and textiles. Garments are collected and processed only by BS7858 security-vetted personnel and are transported to Avena’s processing site via Avena’s fleet of CCTV and real-time satellite tracking protected vehicles. Rather than repurposing the garments as textiles, the SecureBrand process shreds the fabric into fibres, which are then reused in various ways including upholstery padding, acoustic insulation and sound reduction in office screens and vehicle interiors. In addition to providing a by-product from high-volume textile destruction that reduces landfill, the shredding process ensures complete brand protection. If you would like to know more about SecureBrand uniform and workwear services, call Avena Group on 0845 5219 892 for a no-obligation discussion of your requirements, or fill in our online contact form and a member of our support team will contact you within 24 hours.

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