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Air France invents sustainable and responsible uniform!

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As part of its commitment to sustainable development and notably its policy of recycling end-of-life products, Air France has set up an innovative and original uniform recycling operation, a first in the textile sector.
A company-wide collection of used work clothes and uniforms was set up with Air France ground staff and crew members at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly between January and March 2016. Once collected, the clothes were taken to a recycling plant to be processed and used as raw materials to become cement granules.
Initiated by Air France, the project was carried out in partnership with Balsan, one of the Company’s uniform suppliers, and DSI, an adapted sector company, which took care of operational management (collection and transport to the recycling factory). This operation responds to environmental issues, by integrating the clothing collected into the circular economy* and ensuring that they are not buried in the ground or abandoned in landfills. It has also helped to tighten the controls of possible uniform reuse.
“With this innovative project, Air France is once again illustrating its commitment to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility,” said Thierry Bellon, Chief Procurement Officer at Air France. “The company is showing its desire to work together with the adapted sector and is promoting its employees’ eco-citizen attitude. It is also strengthening its control of material flows and is providing the opportunity to explore a new processing chain.”
RECYCLING UNIFORMS AND WORK CLOTHES IN FIGURES
•17,650 cabin crew and 8,500 ground staff wear Air France uniform. 8,600 staff wear work clothes.
•8.56 tons of clothing were collected, recycled and transformed.
•48,509 kWh were generated, the equivalent of a year of heating for three homes of three people: part of the clothing collected was converted into pellets, solid granules with a high calorific value. These pellets, heated to 1,400-2,000°C, are transformed into ash and calorific energy to power the cement plant.
•1.28 tons of cement was made from the ash resulting from the combustion of pellets.

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