Any uniform that remains in good condition is refurbished and reused where appropriate, with Finnair noting that its ‘employees have welcomed the used uniform parts that have been cleaned and maintained, as they are more sustainable than new ones.’
“We have established a process to ensure a constant supply of used clothing pieces that have been carefully cleaned and inspected. Primarily, we allocate these items to fulfill our employees’ uniform orders. We supplement the orders with new uniform parts when necessary,” says Merja Lindberg, who is responsible for Finnair uniforms.
For uniforms that have reached the end of their wearable life, Finnair is working with Image Wear to repurpose the material so it can be used for manufacturing recycled composite products. The material, which is made by combining recycled plastic particles with textiles, can be used to create various outdoor items including tables and benches.
“Composite products are durable – their estimated lifespan is around 50 years, and at the end of their lifecycle, they can still be recycled into new products. In this way, worn-out work clothes do not end up as waste, but continue their life in a new form,” says Kati Tukiainen, Image Wear’s Responsibility manager.