EasyJet is rolling out new uniforms, but passengers may not even notice…
EasyJet’s unique new plastic uniforms
EasyJet is introducing new uniforms for cabin crew and pilots, each of which will each be made of roughly 45 recycled plastic bottles. Over the course of the five year uniform contract, it’s expected that this will prevent 2.7 million plastic bottles from ending up in landfills or in oceans, so that’s over 500K bottles per year.
The new uniforms will be manufactured by Northern-Ireland based Tailored Image, and should be introduced into circulation for cabin crew this month. Aside from plastic bottles, it’s stated that the rest of the uniform will be made of a high-tech material using renewable energy sources, which will have a 75% lower carbon footprint than traditional polyester (I’m not entirely clear on what that is, though).
One major concern with new airline uniforms is how comfortable they are, given how much airline employees have to move around. It’s stated that the new fabric was first trialed last year for suitability. Compared to the non-recyclable alternative, it is more abrasion-resistant, and provides more elasticity, a four-way stretch, and improved fit and freedom of movement for enhanced comfort and durability.
While the uniform will be largely made of reused plastic bottles, plastic has been replaced in all clothing-related packaging, in favor of recyclable and biodegradable materials. For example, plastic collar strays have been replaced by recyclable cardboard ones, and plastic shirt clips have been replaced with metal shirt clips.
EasyJet has launched a fair number of environmental initiatives, and in 2019 the airline claimed to be the first major carbon neutral airline in the world (though the facts around that are always a bit fuzzy).
What EasyJet executives are saying
EasyJet’s Director of Cabin Services, Tina Milton, had the following to say about the new uniforms:
“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.”
We see airlines introduce new uniforms all the time, though typically the innovation centers around the look, rather than the material. Assuming these uniforms are as comfortable as EasyJet is promising, kudos to the airline for this new concept. What a great way to reuse plastic bottles.