easyJet has announced that it is introducing a new uniform for cabin crew and pilots, each made from around 45 recycled plastic bottles as part of its commitment to mitigate waste.
Manufactured by Northern-Ireland based Tailored Image, the new uniform will be introduced into cabin crew circulation this month.
According to easyJet, the rollout across the airline is estimated to prevent around half a million plastic bottles from ending up as plastic waste each year.
The new material is made using renewable energy sources and has a 75% lower carbon footprint than traditional polyester.
The new fabric was first trialled last year for suitability in the cabin and flight deck environments and was found to have more elasticity and to be resistant to abrasions, making it longer-lasting. This will reduce the need for more uniform items to be produced in the long term.
The airline has also replaced plastic in all clothing-related packaging in favour of recyclable and biodegradable materials, for instance replacing plastic collar strays with recyclable cardboard ones, plastic shirt clips with metal shirt clips, non-recyclable white coated card with recyclable cardboard card and polypropylene outer shirt covers with biodegradable shirt covers.
This follows steps already taken by the airline to reduce plastic waste onboard, such as introducing a small plant-based bowl as a teabag holder, removing over 27 million individual items of plastic from its inflight retail operation in 2020, and offering a 50p discount on hot beverages for customers who bring their own reusable cup.
Tina Milton, Director of Cabin Services at easyJet, said: “Climate change is an issue for all of us, and at easyJet, we are looking at all parts of our operation to see where we can reduce carbon emissions and reduce waste.
“We are excited to be debuting this new pilot and cabin crew uniform made from recycled plastic bottles and to introduce it for our pilots and cabin crew colleagues. We know that sustainability is an important issue for them and also for our customers.
“It is a priority for us to continue work on reducing our carbon footprint in the short term, coupled with long-term work to support the development of new technology, including zero-emission planes which aspire to reduce the carbon footprint of aviation radically. We continue to work with innovative technology partners Wright Electric and Airbus. Each of them has set out its ambitious timetables for bringing zero-emission aircraft into commercial service to become a reality.
“People have a choice in how they travel, and if people choose to fly with us, we want to be one of the best choices they can make.”
Bernard Birt, Managing Director of Tailored Image, added: “Our role as a bespoke uniform and corporate wear provider is to deliver innovative solutions for our clients, built around comfort and practicality for their wearers. The additional challenge with the easyJet project was to meet their exceptionally high standards in reducing environmental impact.
“By combining the expertise of our design and garment technology teams, we developed a collaborative approach with a mill that is leading the way in the development of sustainable fabrics.
“We were excited from the outset to be involved in this project and are delighted that the success of the new EasyJet wardrobe demonstrates the result of our award-winning customer-focused approach and our ability to meet even the most exacting briefs.”