Re-Cycle and Re-Use Uniform
In order to tackle the rapidly growing global environmental challenges for a sustainable future, we aim to normalise the reusing of pre-loved college uniform to reduce our carbon footprint whilst helping our families in need of support. This is a great opportunity for our college to embed environmental awareness within our school community, strengthen our green credentials and extend the lifespan of our uniforms whilst supporting a recycling culture.
It is found that 1.4 million wearable school uniforms are thrown away each year!
Around £52 million is spent each year on new items with parents, guardians and carers discarding uniform that still has lots of wear in it. Uniform which has been cared for can and should be reused. By extending the life of clothing by just nine months can reduce carbon and water usage by up to 10%, while helping reduce the staggering volume of clothing that is sent to landfill each year.
Over the last decade, clothing has become the fastest growing stream of waste in the UK, and it now represents the fifth biggest environmental footprint of any industry in the UK. With our growing awareness of the environmental impact of discarding wearable college uniform, it is important for us all to re-evaluate how our attitudes towards the disposal of uniform could be affecting the planet in various ways and how we can adopt more sustainable behaviour patterns and keep sustainable living at the forefront of our minds.
How does throwing away clothing contribute to climate change?
Throwing away clothing not only wastes money and resources, but it can take over 200 years for the materials to decompose in a landfill, in which the decomposition process involves the leaching of toxic chemicals and dyes into the groundwater and our soil.
Throwing away clothing either puts them in landfill or gets them incinerated, creating a ton of carbon emissions that harm our environment. This affects the planet significantly, as they are the greenhouse gas with the highest levels of emissions in the atmosphere, causing global warming and ultimately, climate change.
The fashion industry relies on water throughout the production process for textiles and garments. It takes 2,700 litres of water to cultivate just one T-shirt depending on material and the location in which it is grown. As such, when multiplied by the number of uniforms produced in total, through its excessive water usage, unnecessary wastage of uniform uses up our precious water resources.
A lot of clothing with synthetic fibres can never full break down. This means that throwing away your clothes with these fabrics will eventually cause them to find their way into groundwater and the ocean. These non-biodegradable fibres pollute the water itself and also do active harm to marine wildlife, engendering an ‘invisible’ water pollution crisis.
Increased Clothing Demand
Throwing away clothes contributes to climate change in various ways. The more you throw away, the more you buy to replace what you throw out. The more you buy, the more you increase the demand for new clothing. This demand translates to more air and water pollution as well as more water usage. You can break this cycle by choosing to donate or recycle your old clothing.
Students wear their college uniform for at least 35 hours a week.
To enable all students to access classroom learning, the need for adequate clothing is vital. Having access to a full college uniform means that a child’s attendance is much more likely to improve and allows them to focus on their learning whilst promoting pride, self-confidence and a sense of belonging within the student body, all of which contribute to a child’s/student’s wellbeing whilst reducing socioeconomic disparities. As such, it is crucial that we enhance the longevity of use by donating old uniforms. To support this campaign and our aim in creating a more sustainable provision, can help not only deliver cost effective benefits for parents, guardians and carers, but also spread the important message of sustainability and aid in improving our environment by reducing the amount of clothes in landfill. This in turn will contribute to the long-term goal of achieving a carbon-neutral, environmentally sustainable, toxic-free and fully circular economy in future years.
How can I donate/collect pre-loved college uniform?
Uniform in wearable condition can be donated to and collected from the College at any time.
The donation/collection point is located at the College Reception. Pre-loved uniforms will be available for free throughout the college year for our parents, guardians and carers in need of support. Parents, guardians and carers are encouraged to contact the College for access to these uniforms.
If your child’s college uniform is irreparable, it can be upcycled into new and transformed items. You can recycle irreparable uniforms through a number of routes via charity shops, recycling banks or your local HWRC (Household Waste and Recycling Centre). This will give irreparable uniforms a new lease of life which will have a positive impact on the environment.