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Project Plan B urges PPE industry to consider Covid-19 environmental crisis

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Plymouth-based Project Plan B is calling on designers, product developers and the PPE and workwear industry to consider the environmental impact of their garments and think about products’ end of working life, which has become more apparent due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 90 percent of UK workwear already ends up in landfill or incinerated every year, according to the Wrap Review of Corporatewear arisings and opportunities 2012, and Project Plan B states that Covid-19 has exacerbated that problem.

Project Plan B director Tim Cross, explains in a statement: “Disposable PPE is adding to the industry-wide problem of mass manufacture and waste, which is why we created the first fully recyclable face mask, made from recycled plastic currently being marketed by 1TCA.

“We completely understand that during a time of crisis we have to act quickly to protect lives. However, it is surely incumbent upon us as designers and product developers to think about the products’ end of working life.”

As part of its commitment to tackle global environmental challenges faced by the textile industry, such as the substantial amount of water-waste and produce dumped in landfills, Project Plan B started its journey by providing a manufacturing solution to less flexible, larger corporations by pulling together resources and expertise from across the globe to deliver bespoke garments.

This started by looking at using recycled fabrics and quickly expanded to address not only the use of non-renewable resources in producing fabric, but the longevity of garment life, and the disposal at end of life, the industry needed a circular solution.

Cross added: “We believe every industry has the potential to reduce their impact on the environment – the same environmental issues of waste, resources, CO2 emissions and climate change remain, and are being intensified by the global pandemic. We want to be the catalyst for positive change in the textile industry and hope that other companies will follow to provide 100 percent recycled ranges. Everyone has the potential to make positive change, and we are keen to share what we have learnt to help others achieve the same.

“We will keep pushing boundaries, innovating and sharing knowledge to achieve the positive change we believe the textile industry is capable of.”

Project Plan B calling on PPE manufacturers to consider environmental impact of disposable garments

All Project Plan B garments are made from 100 percent recycled materials, and every garment has been designed to be 100 percent recycled, following research to develop recycled yarn that could be recycled again without a loss in value, as part of its own unique closed loop circular system.

In addition, its yarn also features properties required for commercial success, including a super soft hand feel, wicking capabilities and the ability to take an anti-bacterial treatment.

“Designing with the end of life in mind from the beginning allows problems to be solved before they are created,” added Cross. “At Project Plan B we believe you must design everything to be recycled at end of life so that you can use those fabrics, so rich in resources again and again. At this challenging time and ongoing, the textile world needs to think in a circular way and build in sustainability to their design.”

Project Plan B states that by adapting from a linear to circular manufacturing system, they eradicated the need for virgin polyester to be used or disposed of in their designed to ensure a recycled closed loop system. Every fabric, trim, accessory, thread and label are carefully selected to ensure a high standard of recycled material suitable for reuse.

Each garment is made from recycled polyester, and at the end of wearable life every Project Plan B garment will be turned back into raw polyester before being spun into the fabric of new garments, closing the loop to create a circular polyester cycle.

It is hoped that its success and passion for driving change within the industry will encourage other PPE and workwear manufacturers and designers to “protect others, protect the planet” and reduce waste.

Project Plan B has worked with long-standing partners including the London Olympics, Eon, Eddie Stobart, Police and Ambulance, Qatar World Cup 2022 construction workers, Arco, JCB workwear, and earlier this year won the uniform re-design contract for Stansted Airport.

Images: courtesy of Project Plan B

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