News: School uniform to recycle?
School uniform can be a real problem to recycle - especially if it has embroidered logos on it. We've jotted some good ideas down here...
Friday, 26th May 2017
As a consultancy Uniform Reuse mainly tackles large batches of unwanted clothing from corporate clients, who find the benefits of using our services outweigh the costs of dealing with the problem.
But schools are also finding it isn't easy to dispose of branded uniform when there's a change of logo, and have no budget to deal with the stockpile of unwanted items. So here are some free-and-easy pointers to help you when your school re-brands its uniform:
Stop the problem happening again:
- Will the branding chosen for the new uniform create the same disposal problem again in the future? Talk to your suppliers about ways to avoid this - and then tell your suppliers to talk to us!
Re-use what you can:
- The British Council sometimes sends teachers overseas to work in schools and might know which schools will accept branded uniforms.
- Various refugee help organisations (like Refugee Action or the Disasters and Emergencies Committee) are often looking for children’s clothes, and might be glad of school uniform.
- Try the Rotary Club: they might have a link to an overseas school that could use your uniform.
Upcycle what you can't reuse:
- Turn those polo shirts into PE bags, or jumpers into mobile phone cases or dust covers for computers, or trousers into pencil cases - and then distribute them throughout the schools for pupils to use, or sell them in the school shop. Get your Young Enterprise students involved!
- Does your local UTC have a textiles department and could use your old uniform in its workshops? Can the uniform be cut into squares or strips or shapes to make blankets or rag rugs or quilts?
Recycle what you can't upcycle:
- If it can't be reused or upcycled, try a local member of the Textile Recycling Association and contact them directly to organize collection, shredding and recycling of your uniform into rags and wipers.
WRAP report on environmental impact of UK clothing industry
WRAP's recent report "Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion" highlights recent achievements in the clothing sector, looks at business opportunities, and gives an insight into consumer behaviour when it comes to buying and wearing clothing.