Recycling Outdated PPE

BESIX Watpac has teamed up with Total Uniform Solutions (TUS) to ensure old and outdated hi vis vests are recycled and kept out of landfill.

Recycling Outdated PPE
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(From left: James Nelson, BESIX Watpac Quality and Environment Manager and Andrew Bottcher, TUS National Sales Manager)

Faded vests or those with outdated branding have historically gone to landfill but TUS is committed to finding alternative uses for the polyester fabric.

TUS National Sales Manager Andrew Bottcher says branded garments are currently sorted and then shredded.

“The industrial shredding ensures any branding is securely destroyed and the end product is then suitable for use as a foam substitute for multiple uses such as stuffing in office partitions or padding etc,” Andrew said.

TUS is currently running decommissioning trials to remove branding and repurpose a range of garments. They are also trialling further recycling of the shredded material.

“We’re working towards blending shredded fabric with a percentage of virgin fibres to turn back into yarn. We hope these trials will allow the industry to move towards circularity,” he said.

BESIX Watpac Quality and Environment Manager James Nelson says recycling is an issue for the entire construction industry.

“PPE recycling is a small but important step towards a more sustainable industry and reflects our thinking across the board,” James said.

Old hard hats are also being recycled and are typically shredded, washed, melted down into plastic pellets that are turned into multiple different recycled products such as outdoor furniture and storage containers.

“I hope teams are increasingly inspired to find the best ways to manage the waste we generate and pursue options to recover resources for the circular economy,” James said.

"PPE recycling is a small but important step towards a more sustainable industry and reflects our thinking across the board."


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