Upcycling design brand Worn Again has announced a long term partnership with McDonalds to develop a closed loop system of recycling uniforms. The Hemingway Design team (Wayne and Gerardine founded the iconic Red or Dead fashion label) have been put in charge of designing new uniforms for McDonald’s 85,000 employees in the UK.
It is an interesting move by McDonalds who have worked hard at creating a more sustainable and healthy image in terms of food sourcing and packaging, but clothing wouldn’t be a key concern to spring to mind. It seems noteworthy that such a massive brand is taking steps to limit their textile waste.
Worn Again will be working closely with the uniform provider Dimensions / Alexandra using their joint expertise to help create new uniforms for McDonald’s with the aim of making it 100% closed loop recyclable, where uniforms are recollected in restaurants, reprocessed into raw materials and made back into uniforms again as part of a ‘closed loop’ system. The entire process will take place in phases over the coming years. McDonald’s is the first company in the UK to commit to developing a closed loop uniform. The new designs will be unveiled next year before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and McDonald’s top performing employees will be the first to wear Wayne and Gerardine’s designs at the McDonald’s Olympic Park restaurants.
I wonder what they are currently doing with uniforms, and will they be recycling each piece of uniform once an employee has discarded it even if it’s not at the end of its useful life? Laundering and reusing would use less energy than recycling. Of course it’s also great publicity for Worn Again who have worked with other big brands including Virgin Atlantic and the Royal Mail, showing that corporate waste doesn’t indeed have to go to waste. Hopefully more big brands will seek guidance from the smaller, ethical brands in the future, thus lessoning the divide between ‘them’ and ‘us’.