Giving new life to your old uniforms

Okay, someone’s gotta say it… Australia has a fast fashion addiction. A bad one. In fact, as a country, we’re dropping a whopping 720,000 tonnes of clothing and textiles into landfill every year. That’s 23 kilograms per person. Or, in online shopping speak, 270 t-shirts.

 

That being said, uniforms are a different game altogether. Instead of being worn for a hit minute on holiday, they can be worn proudly for years. But like a single-use sarong, they too can wind up in landfill. 

 

So, consider this an intervention. No more binning old uniforms. We’re here to show you how you can give your scrubs, pants, tops and skirts a new lease on life, disposing of them responsibly so they can stay out of landfill for longer (ideally, forever). 

 

 

Why do old uniforms need replacing?

Great question. Like all trends, uniforms can go out of style. They can also wear out, lose colour, unravel or get damaged (particularly if you haven’t invested in high quality, durable garments that are made to withstand fading, stains and everyday wear and tear).  

 

But just because you’ve decided to update your uniforms doesn’t mean your old ones should face the fate of the skip bin outside. Instead, you have the option to repurpose, recycle and even reinvent them.

 

 

What to do with wearable old uniforms

 

Are your garments still in good nick? Then chances are they could still be of value to someone else via the concept of ‘upcycling’. This means transforming something ‘old’ into something ‘new’. Like the classic Blundstone boot plant pot. Loop Upcycling and Worn Up are two excellent examples of innovative businesses giving new life to old garments in clever ways. 

 

Alternatively, you can have your wearable old uniforms shipped overseas to people who need them more. We’ve partnered with a number of charity organisations in the past, such as Rotary International, who do great work collecting and redistributing retired uniforms to communities in need throughout the world.

 

So, why not do the world a favour and do some good with your old uniforms instead?

 

 

What to do with unwearable old uniforms

 

Are your uniforms quite literally hanging on by a thread? Then it’s time for them to be responsibly recycled.  

 

Organisations like Textile Recyclers Australia (TRA) specialise in transforming old fabrics into new ones. Once sorted, pre-loved uniforms can be recycled into a fibre, then yarn and then new fabric – providing a sustainable circular solution that keeps more and more clothing out of landfills.

 

Recycling innovations don’t stop there. TRA has also been working with a UNSW Smart Centre called  Green Ceramics MICROfactorie™ on transforming pre-loved textiles and glass waste into durable ceramic tiles. The tiles can be used as kitchen benches, table tops, floor tiles and furnishings, all while meeting all Australian Standards for performance and safety. 

 

Suffice to say, binning your old workwear isn’t the best option when it comes time to upgrade to a more modern or durable look. Fabric technology across the board is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was mere years ago, which is why we can help you dispose of your uniforms more sustainably. These days, clever people all over the country have come up with ways for businesses to take a more sustainable foot forward. Speaking of, you can now even recycle the shoes on your feet!  

 

So, the next time you overhaul your workwear, take a second to consider the best way to retire the old stuff. You might be surprised just how much life is left in it. 

 


Ready to dispose of your old uniforms responsibly and upgrade to a new one?  Get in touch. 

 

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