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Heroic uniforms

Virgin Atlantic’s colleague reward and recognition scheme ‘Heroes’ celebrates the achievements of our colleagues who have gone the extra mile in their jobs. This year, the Environmental Sustainability Hero was our Head of Uniforms Sally Barford, recognising the great work she and her team have put into building sustainability into our uniforms process.

Our stylish staff and crew are instantly recognisable in their distinctive Virgin Atlantic uniforms. The team behind the uniforms is just as proud of their sustainability credentials too. For example, even after they’ve been put through their paces by our colleagues, flown thousands of miles around the globe and are no longer fit to be worn, they’re creatively reused and recycled.

To reduce waste, crew are never given a replacement uniform until they’ve returned their old one. Once a uniform is returned, all the buttons are carefully snipped off and used for spares. For security reasons, any ‘branded’ old items are cut through. They’re then shredded and recycled – for example as filling for car seats, flocking and felting. In 2011 Virgin Atlantic uniforms stores recycled 16.16 tonnes of our uniform items through our innovative partner LMB. They also redistribute any non-security sensitive uniform items , providing a source of income to local traders in a number of countries from Uganda to Hungary. For more information click here (opens in a new window).

These initiatives complement the team’s work on the manufacturing process too: most is now carried out in Europe so we can closely monitor working conditions (which are also third-party audited), as well as reducing the distance over which materials and garments have to be transported.

For more information on how our work on uniforms and sustainability fits into our wider ‘Change is in the Air’ sustainability programme, take a look at our sustainability reports here (opens in a new window).