Dunstable company launches garment recycling initiative to cut textile waste

Essential Workwear wants to reduce the 11 million items of clothing currently ending up in landfill each week

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 11:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th August 2021, 11:34 pm

Dunstable firm Essential Workwear has launched a brand-new garment recycling initiative to help clients become more sustainable and support the target of achieving the government’s net-zero emissions by 2050.

Textile waste is becoming an ever-increasing concern across the globe. The key challenges that organisations face when disposing of branded textiles is the negative impact this waste has on the environment. Essential, who employ around 60 staff at their Foster Avenue base, are working with market leaders in offering a textile recycling programme for corporate branded workwear and other garments as a solution to textile waste.

On average, 2,700 litres of water is needed to create a single t-shirt - enough drinking water for one person for two-and-a-half years. By recycling used garments, Essential will significantly reduce the amount of water that is used to create new garments. Furthermore, 26.2million tonnes of CO2 is produced in the UK due to textiles each year and 350,000 tonnes worth of textiles is sent to landfill each year.

George Georgiou, Essential Workwear’s Managing Director, pictured with the very first garments to be recycled with the new initiative

The Essential Workwear recycling programme guarantees that all textiles are securely destroyed by a custom built cross-cut industrial shredder. This ensures the textiles are unrecognisable and broken down to a size where it is impossible to re-weave back into any other garment.

Once the textiles are destroyed, they are baled into mill-size bales and transported to specialist mills to begin the recycling phase and certificates are issued including time and date that the shredding took place.

When the textile product is deemed redundant, this new service helps limit the environmental impact by closing the loop and reducing the miles that textiles cover. Essential securely destroy textiles and recycle all the natural fibres within the UK. The fibre materials go through the process of stretching where the fibres are turned into a wide range of products such as insulation, geotextiles and other innovative products.

This is the sustainable recycling service that is contributing to reducing the 11 million items of clothing a week currently ending up in landfill, as estimated by Oxfam. Essential will charge an admin fee per garment to carry out this process, intended to cover any direct costs, however no profit will be made from the initiative.

George Georgiou, managing director, said: “For more than 20 years we have been witnessing the huge impact that our industry has on the environment, and we recognised that the time was now in 2021 to introduce an innovative and powerful new service to help reduce waste into landfill.

"The Essential garment recycling programme will offer all of our clients the opportunity to support their ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) policies now and long into the future. Together with our team of uniform specialists, I am immensely proud to have launched this new service. It’s the smallest changes which make the biggest difference.”

Award-winning, second generation, family-run Essential Workwear brand close to 11,000 pieces of work and safety wear every day, from their factory. They are an established safetywear company with an in-house PPE expert and are a BSIF registered safety supplier.

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