When UPS Inc. announced last year that it was swapping out its old cotton uniforms for high-performance athletic wear, it undoubtedly made many drivers very happy. But it also created the question of what to do with thousands of pounds of old uniforms. UPS said at the time that it was committed to keeping them out of landfills and incinerators. And it now appears to be making good on that promise.
Last month, the Atlanta-based logistics giant announced that it was working with two local nonprofit organizations—the Initiative for Affordable Housing and Best Friends Animal Society—to “upcycle” thousands of old uniforms into dog leashes, benefiting programs to provide homes and jobs for Atlanta-area residents—including some four-legged ones.
Through a grant from the UPS Foundation, participants in the Initiative for Affordable Housing’s “re:loom” project have fashioned about 1,200 leashes from old UPS uniforms in the first six months of the program. Re:loom trains homeless and low-income individuals to make hand-woven products from excess textiles. UPS is donating those finished leashes to Best Friends Animal Society’s Lifesaving Center in Atlanta, where they’ll go home with dogs adopted at the center.
“These old uniforms were worn by our 125,000 hard-working drivers, who deliver nearly 22 million packages and documents a day across the globe,” Patrick Browne, director of sustainability at UPS, said in a release. “The last thing we wanted to do was to dump them in a landfill. That’s why we’re so happy to partner with these amazing nonprofits to give them a second life and do something special for our community.”