Major Road Projects recycling work clothes, PPE

work clothes recycling

In a first for Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV), the Pound Road West Upgrade team has been recycling used work clothes and personal protective equipment (PPE) that would normally go to landfill after teaming up with Victorian company UPPAREL.

Under a partnership between MRPV, its construction partner Seymour Whyte and UPPAREL, project workers are being encouraged to hand in workwear and PPE they no longer use so it can be reused or recycled. UPPAREL will repurpose 100 per cent of the recoverable materials, with nothing sent to landfill.

Work clothing and PPE that remains in good condition is being offered to UPPAREL’s charity and not-for profit partners for reuse.

Clothing and PPE no longer fit for wear is being recycled via UPPAREL’s non-chemical process which converts end-of-life textiles into sustainable materials that can be repurposed into new commercial products. In an additional benefit, these recycled materials can replace non-sustainable materials such as polystyrene, fiberglass and cellulose that have traditionally been used in the manufacture of some consumer products.

Unwearable work clothing is being recycled into fibre that is used in construction materials such as wall and ceiling insulation, furniture filling, flooring underlay, acoustic panels, suspended ceiling tiles and office partition walls. It can also be used in cushion filling, pet beds and protective packaging for products such as crockery and glassware.

Recycled PPE such as hardhats, safety glasses and boots are being repurposed into gym flooring, outdoor playground flooring and rubber mats.

Already the Pound Road West Upgrade team has handed in nearly 500 items of work clothing and PPE, preventing the creation of almost 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

UPPAREL is the only direct-to-consumer and commercial textile recovery and recycling company operating in Australia and New Zealand. It is also a Certified B Corporation – corporations that are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy – and won the Australian Retail Association’s 2020 National Sustainability Champion Award.

From its Braeside-based headquarters in Melbourne’s southeast, UPPAREL has diverted a total of nearly seven million items from landfill.

This initiative builds on the Victorian Government’s ecologiQ program, which is integrating recycled and reused content across Victoria’s $90 billion Big Build and making the use of green materials business-as-usual.

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