Fristads begins to close the loop on clothing production

Fristads has developed a polo shirt made partially from discarded garments, bringing them a step closer to closing the loop. 

Workwear manufacturer Fristads has developed a polo shirt made partially from discarded garments. That brings Fristads one step closer to its goal of closing the loop on clothing production. 

“We have made great strides when it comes to measuring and reducing the environmental impact of our garments throughout the production process. The logical next step is to take care of the garments after they have reached the end of their life,” said Anders Hülse, Managing Director of Fristads.

 For years, Fristads has supplied the biggest Dutch postal service and logistics company PostNL with their polo shirts. Thanks to a new pilot program, those polo shirts will now be collected and recycled into new garments, effectively closing the loop on some of Fristads’ clothing production. The long-term plan is to use the closed loop fabric in all orange and blue shirts worn by 25,000 PostNL employees.

“We are investigating all options to make certified closed-loop garments for other customers as well,” said Marie-José Verbeek, Managing Director of Fristads Benelux. “With this project, we want to make a lasting change on clothing production.”

Part of the solution

 First, Fristads collects the worn-out polo shirts from the customer and sends them to a recycling facility, where they are processed and mixed with BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) cotton and recycled polyester made of PET bottles. The recycled fabric is then dyed and used to make new polo shirts. Approximately 15 percent of the material in the new polo shirt collection consists of recycled fabric from discarded garments, which reduces the overall environmental impact of the garment, both by eliminating waste and decreasing emissions and water consumption. The whole production process is audited and certified by a third party.

“Closing the loop on our workwear is part of our ambition in our journey towards circularity,” said Heleen Westerhoff, Fristads Benelux Product Specialist. “We want to be part of the solution, not the problem.”

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