British airline easyJet has unveiled new pilot and cabin crew uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles.
Each uniform will be made using 45 recycled plastic bottles, and the campaign could translate into the budget airline reusing up to half a million bottles each year, preventing them from ending up in the ocean or in landfills.
The world's first carbon-free airline's new staff wardrobe is also made from renewable energy sources and has a 75 per cent lower carbon footprint than traditional polyester.
The announcement comes after trials in 2020 to determine how the recycled fabric performed inside the cabin and flight deck were deemed successful.
As well as being more abrasion resistant, the fabric is more elasticated, allowing cabin crew more comfort when performing tasks such as stretching for items in overhead luggage bins. It’s also longer lasting, which will reduce the need for more uniform production in the long term.
Manufactured by Tailored Image in Northern Ireland, the new uniform will be introduced into cabin crew circulation later in August.
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.
"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."
As well as the new fabric, there’s no plastic to be seen in any of easyJet's new clothing-related packaging.
Plastic collar strays have been replaced with recyclable cardboard ones, plastic shirt clips have been swapped out for metal shirt clips and polypropylene outer shirt covers are now substituted with biodegradable shirt covers.
EasyJet has already taken steps to reduce the number of single-use plastic items on flights.
Many plastic items have been replaced with more sustainable alternatives, including small plant-based bowls as tea bag holders. The airline also offers a 50 pence ($0.70) discount on hot drinks for customers who bring their own reusable cups on flights.
Elsewhere, easyJet has reduced carbon emissions for each kilometre flown by a passenger by over a third, since 2000. Initiatives to achieve this have included introducing lightweight carpets, trolleys and seats, single-engine taxiing and removing paper manuals from aircraft.
Commercial aviation is responsible for about 2 to 3 per cent of global carbon emissions, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).