Northern recycles over 10,000kg of old uniforms with Avena

June 11, 2024



Train operator, Northern, has announced that over 10,000kg of old uniforms have been recycled as part of its deal with Avena in 2023.

The arrangement has saved over 4,000kg (4,364kg CO2e) of carbon emissions in the last twelve months (May 2023 – April 2024) than if the same volume of material had been sent to landfill. 

That’s the equivalent of over 11,159 miles driven by an average petrol car or over 2,000kg (2,181kg) of coal being burned.

It’s also the same carbon emissions generated from charging 288,031 smartphones.

‘End of life’ uniform scheme

Northern has tens of thousands of pieces of uniform and workwear in use by colleagues across the business at any one time.

Many of the items feature the Northern logo and therefore have to be disposed of safely for security reasons – to avoid the possibility of items being used by those looking to impersonate rail workers and gain access to restricted areas of depots and stations.

As part of the new recycling drive, ‘end of life’ uniforms have been collected from 25 depots and train crew centres across the Northern network on a regular basis over the last year.

They are taken away and shredded by Avena, a specialist in brand security through processes including textile shredding, clothing destruction and textile recycling.

To mark the first anniversary of their partnership with Avena, Northern has taken part in a video case study to encourage other organisations with high quantities of ‘end of life’ uniforms to recycle more.

“Uniforms are something we have in abundance and through natural wear and tear and turnover of staff we regularly have to order-in fresh supplies,” said Mike Roe, Safety and Environment Director at Northern.

“Knowing that we’ve sent over ten tonnes of material for recycling through this initiative – which would otherwise have been incinerated or sent to landfill – is something Northern can be proud of.”

Avoidance from landfill

Elliott Garner, a spokesperson for Avena, said: “We are delighted to have strengthened and expanded on our relationship with Northern over the past 12 months.

“The recent release of our joint video project underscores Northern’s commitment to advancing sustainability goals, directly supported by the SecureBrand Uniform Recycling solution.

“Avena takes pride in securely processing all Northern uniform in the most effective way possible, guaranteeing the processing of all items collected resulting in complete avoidance from landfill.

“The implementation of SecureBrand across 25 Northern sites ensures branded uniform is captured, heavily reducing the risk of uniform breaches and impersonation attempts.

“We look forward to continuing securing the future of Northern for years to come.”

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