Air Canada has recently launched a new application for employees that will help reuse and recycle uniform pieces, preventing the resource-intensive fabric from ending up in landfills. On Global Recycling Day, as part of its ongoing commitment to Leave Less, Air Canada is encouraging its front-line employees to exchange their new and gently used Air Canada uniforms through the UNI2 uniform exchange app.
Instead of sending all the returned uniforms to recycling, Air Canada’s uniform team inspects returned uniforms and sets aside pieces that can be cleaned and put back into service. Through the app, employees can scroll through images of available pieces and request free gently-used items.
“The UNI2 uniform exchange app has been a long time in the making, but the uniform backorders brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic gave Air Canada the momentum needed to reassess our program, and implement an innovative and sustainable solution,” said Nisha Muire, Manager, Uniform Program and Brand Management at Air Canada.
Even the dry-cleaning process was reviewed for its impact on the environment. Collected pieces are sent to a supplier that provides “wet cleaning,” a process that is safe for all fabrics including wool and silks. It uses a specially formulated solution that utilizes very little water, no harsh chemicals, and is fully biodegradable.
In only 12 weeks since the program was launched, there have already been more than 100 successful exchanges using the app, with more than 300 uniform pieces that have been reused by employees.
This is the latest initiative by Air Canada to recycle uniforms and other items as the airline strives to reduce its environmental footprint in every aspect of the business. Since 2016, Air Canada has been able to divert nearly 1,150 tonnes of material from landfills by partnering with Canadian charities to give slightly used or even new and unused items a second life.
That includes donating old uniforms and amenity kits to Toronto-based Brands For Canada, which supports numerous programs and groups across the country.