When Delta launched its new employee uniforms earlier this year, the carrier received over 350,000 pounds of textiles in the form of returned old uniforms.
The airline says that this was one of the largest, single company textile landfill diversion programmes in US history.
Much of what was received was donated to organisations like The Salvation Army and youth homeless projects, or broken down and recycled as pet bedding or stuffing for pillows.
But a significant amount has been used by Oregon-based firm Looptworks to create upcycled items, which are now available for purchase at looptworks.com/collections/delta.
Among the products include backpacks, travel kits, passport covers, other bags and travel accessories.
The items features sections of the carrier’s iconic uniforms including the red dress, navy suit and black trench coat, and retired aircraft seats have also been upcycled and woven into some of the products, to “add durability and design interest”.
A portion of the money from each item sold will be put toward the Youth Environmental Education and Action Fund through the Captain Planet Foundation.
Commenting on the initiative Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Director — Uniforms, said;
“Our partnership with Looptworks gives new life to retired uniforms and seat covers that would have otherwise ended up in landfills, supports Delta’s commitment to serving local communities and provides one-of-a-kind goods that are perfect for gifting, all while being made in the United States.”
Delta says that the move to recycle uniforms is part of its “industry-leading sustainability strategy to drive significant reductions in waste and emissions over time”.
Last month the carrier announced plans to phase out the use of single-use plastics on its aircraft and in executive lounges, in a bid to eliminate 300,000 pounds of annual plastic waste.