Recycled uniforms help Metrolinx meet green targets

Program to divert GO and UP Express staff uniforms from landfill proves to be successful

They always look crisp, shiny and spiffy when they’re brand new. Fresh duds ready for wear, with customers bound to be impressed. The uniforms GO Transit and UP Express employees don while working, though, have a life span. Almost everyone’s clothes do (except that sweatshirt from the good ol’ days that you’ll never throw out).

So, what to do when the apparel no longer lives up to the “dress to impress” standards? The next best thing, of course, is to make sure it lives on in another form.

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GO Transit employees donning new uniforms in May 2017

As part of its Sustainability Strategy, Metrolinx has a recycling program to make sure old uniforms don’t end up in landfill. In 2016, more than 7,250 kilograms the garments were diverted after GO uniforms went through their first redesign in 15 years.

That’s more than the weight of a large elephant.

In total, 3500 kilograms of non-branded items were donated to the Oasis Clothing Bank. Another 3750 kilograms of branded items were sent to Reseau-CFER, a textile recycling company that trains and employs at-risk youth.

The program proved to be a success and, as a result, it continued in 2017 when UP Express uniforms were ready to be revamped.

This year, 1,280 items including pants, dresses and belts, were donated and 1,922 pieces were sent for recycling.

Item Quantity
Waistcoats 100
Blazers 110
Green Polo Shirts 100
Hats 175
Black UP Sweater 85
Black Fleece Vests 50
Black Polos 85
Winter Coats 110
Satchels 80
Scarves 250
Ties 400
Pants & Skirts 500
White Dress Shirts 700
Belts 80
Frontline items 377

While everyone wants to keep their work clothes clean and crisp, over time the daily wear and tear takes its toll. By making the effort to replace uniforms responsibly, it ends up being a win-win for the organization and its staff.