It’s National Recycling Week – and Byron Shire Council has teamed up with textile upcycle company, Worn Up, to offer collection of end-of-life uniforms from schools so they can be transformed into new long-lasting products like desks and tiles.
“We’re inviting all our local schools and their communities to take up this opportunity with Worn Up to recycle school uniforms that would otherwise end up in landfill,” Council’s Resource Recovery Education and Projects Officer, Sarah Child said.
“Whilst we encourage uniforms to stay in circulation through reuse and second-hand systems for as long as possible, when they’re no longer wearable and ready for the bin – this is where Worn Up comes in,” she said.
“We have five local schools onboard already and are calling out to all our local schools to get involved in the exciting new world of textile upcycling. What better way to teach kids about sustainability and circular economies,” Ms Child said.
Approximately 800,000 tonnes of textile waste generated by Australians is sent to landfill each year and 95 percent of that is potentially recyclable.
While school uniforms are a small section of textile waste, the Worn Up program helps to educate students and school communities about the impact of textile waste on the environment and how to build a circular model for textile reuse.
“The idea that you can turn an old school uniform into a school desk is just the beginning and the innovation that could lead to an entirely circular system of thread-to-thread, is something we want our communities and our kids to understand and be at the forefront of,” Ms Child said.
“The Worn-Up program is offering schools four collections of their uniform waste over 12 months and as sponsor of the initiative, Council picks up the small collection fee.
“It could be something taken up by the school, it’s SRC or P&C.
“Our intention is to collect data throughout the program and provide a report to Council at the end of the 12 months, to help guide future textile recycling initiatives in the Byron Shire,” Ms Child said.
Council will also be participating in the Worn Up program by recycling any non-wearable uniforms.