Uniform Reuse has put together information on the 'best practice' approaches to corporate wear, and guidance on how to improve the sustainability of this type of clothing. Our information will help designers, buyers, wearers and end-of-life processors, as we believe all parts of the supply chain play a vital role in helping to reduce the environmental impact of corporate wear.
Design for End-of-Life (EoL)
When designing corporatewear, it’s the primary users (the providers and wearers of garments) who drive the design decisions. Their main needs have been image, functionality and cost. But the corporatewear sector is becoming more interested in – and affected by – issues of sustainability.
Nowadays we need to use resources efficiently and to dispose of garments thoughtfully at the end of their service life (EoL) . Our ‘Design for EoL Tool’ is for design and product development teams – and other stakeholders across the corporatewear sector - to help them look at these sustainability issues.
General principles of sustainable design
Some general principles of sustainable corporatewear design are:
- Avoid waste in the first place: be efficient in the use of materials and energy
- Avoid materials containing hazardous chemicals
- Develop a labelling system which accurately identifies the materials so they can be reused or recycled.
So, as well as satisfying the primary users’ needs, the garment designer needs to focus on the fabrics to be used and the likely condition of the garments at EoL. Understanding these factors can help the designer lengthen the life of the garment, or enable it to be reused, or make it easier to recycle into other products or be used in energy production.
The easiest and ‘best’ outcome for corporatewear at EoL is to reuse the whole garments, but a close second is to reuse the fabric. To improve reusability:
- Consider the durability and ease of care of garments
- Give preference to subtle branding and logos that are easy to detach
- Design garments that are easy to repair, refurbish and modify.
Suitable recycling options
The most suitable recycling options for corporatewear garments are chemical and mechanical recycling:
- To improve recyclability with chemical systems, choose materials approved by existing chemical recycling systems
- To improve recyclability with mechanical systems, choose fabrics that are easy to shred.
In an ideal world, used corporatewear garments would be reused repeatedly and then finally recycled efficiently back into original materials or be composted safely. Keep this as your long term goal!
A more detailed explanation of the options at EoLDownload pdf (2182kB)
The EOL toolDownload pdf (1139kB)