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Fibres/​Yarns/​Fabrics

Atlanta’s plastic waste takes on new life

Plastic bottles collected from destinations around Atlanta will be converted to sustainable apparel.

1st February 2019

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Atlanta, GA

Sustainable, Clothing/​Footwear

ATL Airport Staff members wearing sustainable uniforms. © Unifi/ATL

ATL Airport Staff members wearing sustainable uniforms. © Unifi/ATL

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is working with partners to promote the importance of recycling as fans from across the nation converge on Atlanta for the biggest sporting event of the year. Together with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Georgia Aquarium and a leading textile solutions provider Unifi, ATL is supporting a circular economy by collecting plastic bottles to be transformed into Repreve recycled fibre for use in athletic and fashion apparel.

This week, the partners are unveiling a special edition GreeningATL uniform for the Atlanta Host Committee. The eco-friendly jackets are made with Repreve branded recycled fibre made from plastic bottles. Bottles were collected from ATL, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Georgia Aquarium, then transported to the Unifi recycling facility in North Carolina to create recycled fibre. Each Host Committee jacket uses six plastic bottles, preventing tons of waste from going into landfills and our oceans.

“GreeningATL reflects our commitment to managing our resources and integrating innovation for a sustainable future,” said Liza Milagro, Resilience & Sustainability Manager, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. “By partnering with Unifi to create these special edition uniforms, we're making our zero-waste policy tangible and showing Atlanta's visitors our commitment to sustainability.”

Compared to its daily average of 60,000-75,000 visitors, ATL expects more than 3.2 million to travel through the airport between. 25 January and 5 February 2019. It is estimated that those visitors will generate more than 400 tonnes of divertible recyclables. This circular economy initiative will collect and convert recyclable plastic bottles into Repreve fibre.

To date, Unifi has recycled more than 14 billion plastic bottles to make Repreve and aims to recycle 20 billion bottles by 2020. “Our goal in partnering during one of the busiest times of the year is to demonstrate the importance and impact of the circular economy, where recycling, reuse and transformation of items results in a greener airport and more sustainable city,” said Richard Gerstein, EVP, Global Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Unifi.

The Host Committee can be seen wearing the special edition GreeningATL uniforms in the Airport and across the City of Atlanta for the big game; however, it is hoped the uniforms will be worn – to express pride in the City's efforts – well after the game concludes. 

www.unifi.com

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