Let’s Celebrate National Recycling Week

In National Recycling Week, Johnsons Workwear is helping to spread this year’s campaign message – ‘Recycling. We do. Because it matters’.

Across our 17 UK plants, the General Managers and staff have already been getting behind the reduction of single use plastics and encouraging recycling in every way possible by taking away cups from water dispensers and issuing branded, reusable water bottles and mugs. Another example is continuing the lifespan of towels that are no longer serviceable by donating these to animal rescue charities to support their wonderful work keeping their animals warm and comfortable during the winter months.

At our Lancaster plant, they are helping the local community by laundering donated second-hand school uniform, which is then given to schools in the deprived areas of the nearby seaside town Morecambe, to be used for people in need.

We are also looking at ways of reducing the disposal of waste garments to landfill through a project, led by members of our training and development Academy, and work with our clients to reduce poly wrapping, while also keeping health and safety compliance at the top of the agenda for sectors such as the food industry.

Our plastic pledge

In our plant in Newmarket, our general manager Tim Lusher has been actively working not only in the plant but also with the local community to help communicate the important message of recycling and sustainability and the impacts environmental damage can have on areas such as the Great Barrier Reef.

Last year he teamed up with Saints CE Primary School to play a part in helping to save further damage to the oceans and the Great Barrier Reef by reducing and recycling plastic waste. Working with the laundry staff, parents and teachers they took a number of small, but significant steps, to encourage responsible plastic use, to tidy up the local environment and to spread awareness of how we can manage our plastic waste more responsibly.

Staff from Johnsons started by visiting the school to educate the children on the negative impact plastic can have on the environment and the Great Barrier Reef and encourage the children to collect used plastic waste. The children were so enthused, they even went out after the local Newmarket races to collect hundreds of plastic bottles. “We gave out a prize for the most plastic collected, which was eight sacks, and when we went back for a second time we collected a lorry load!” says Tim.

With the plastic bottles collected by the children, the Newmarket team helped them in the design and creation of a 10 ft. dolphin sculpture which featured as the centre piece on to the school’s float in the local carnival in July. “The children were so excited to be part of the event,” said Head Teacher Miss Trampnow. “Our carnival float had been given the theme of Australia, so we built a coral reef and focused lessons on learning about the environmental damage to the Great Barrier Reef. This is such an important issue and it is vital that we challenge plastic pollution and empower the future generations to make changes.”

And the fantastic work – and creativity – carried on as our Newmarket staff built a Christmas tree from recycled milk bottles collected by the school and the plant team. This stood proudly in the local school to raise festive cheer and environmental awareness as well as helping to raise money at the school Christmas fair in the count the bottles competition.

Education, education, education …

As well as creating momentum for a sustainable lifestyle across the plant through posters pushing out the message of environmental awareness and our responsibility to the 3Rs – Reduce/ Reuse and Recycle, this year, one of our Newmarket employees Miguel created a piece of work for Earth Day in April for a project featuring pollinators (bees and butterflies) and endangered species (bees). A local beekeeper was contacted to provide some delicious honey samples in jars and honeycomb. Wild flower seeds were handed out for the team to sow and to present pictures later of what they had grown.

Newmarket’s school work has also carried on this year, this time with a new local school, through an environmental project. Children painted pictures which were judged by the plant staff and the school was presented with environmental books and seed pens.

For Tim all of these threads make up a long-term commitment to sustainability: “It's about an accumulative impact with small changes, and a matter of keeping the message going,” he says.