Shrewsbury's Alan Ward donates old uniforms as part of recycling campaign

Uniforms from a Shropshire furniture company could be worn by people in developing countries across the world as part of a new recycling initiative.

Staff at Alan Ward’s distribution centre in Battlefield, Shrewsbury, recently donned new uniforms but couldn’t find anywhere to recycle their old branded clothing.

Tim Willocks, delivery team leader, took it upon himself to find out where to recycle the uniforms, as they could not be donated to local charities because of the logos embroidered onto every item.

After extensive research, he eventually found a specialist textile recycling company called LMB, which is the only company in the country to cater for uniform disposal.

He personally delivered more than 30 sets of uniform to the London-based company, with each set consisting of a polo shirt, jumper, fleece, trousers and padded jacket.

Those clothes will now be transported to developing countries, as well as places in need of aid such as war-torn Syria.

“We recently introduced a new uniform for our delivery teams,” said Mr Willocks. “But we didn’t just want to throw away our old uniforms and we knew, because of the logos, that local charities couldn’t use them.

“Our policy at Alan Ward is to reduce the amount of waste we put into landfill.

“We are already recycling 100 per cent of the mattresses we collect from customers when we deliver their new bed or mattress so it made sense to find a use for our old uniforms too.

“It’s amazing that more companies don’t offer a service to recycle uniforms. It took a lot of research to find LMB.”

Mr Willocks said every year people threw away over a million tonnes of textiles and the vast majority could be reused or recycled.

He said: “LMB offers an environmentally friendly alternative to this wastage. The company reuses and recycles virtually every kind of textile, from t-shirts to saris to school uniforms, shoes, trainers, football kits, hats, belts, jackets. The list is endless. And if you have any household textiles to donate such as towels, bed sheets or curtains, these can also be reused.”

Items of a sufficient quality are shipped to developing countries and distributed to local markets.

If items are unsuitable to be reused, they are recycled into other items, such as industrial wiping rags, felt or new yarn.

LMB has worked with numerous big-name companies, such as Virgin and Barclays, and has been featured on The One Show on BBC One.

“I was so pleased when I found LMB,” Mr Willocks said. “It feels good to know our uniforms are not going to waste and that they will be recycled or reused well into the future.

“At Alan Ward, it’s so important to us to look after our environment and we want to help wherever we can.”

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