SOURCE: JetBlue

JetBlue

September 30, 2014 10:32 ET

JetBlue Recycles 18.5 Tons of Used Uniforms, Saves Fabric From Landfills Giving It New Life

Airline Partners With Sustainable Fashion Company Loomstate and Partners Including Planet Aid; Proceeds From Planet Aid's Sale of the Used Clothing and Fabric Will Support Educational, Health and Environmental Programs in Africa, Asia, and the Americas

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - September 30, 2014) - JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU) today announces a donation of more than 18.5 tons of used uniforms, clothing and fabric to several non-profit partners including Planet Aid, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that collects and recycles worn clothing and shoes. Planet Aid will sell the clothing with the proceeds supporting health, agricultural, educational, and environmental programs in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. The collection and organization was coordinated by Loomstate, an end-to-end sustainable fashion house.

This summer, JetBlue introduced new uniforms across the airline for the first time in its 14 year history. This included collecting old uniforms from over sixty cities and approximately eight pieces of clothing per uniformed crewmember. Rather than simply throwing away the collected fabric, JetBlue decided to give new life to the more than 37,000 pounds of material by donating it to charities and people in need. As part of JetBlue's uniform recycling program, donated clothing items can now be worn again.

Donated items were directed to eight donation centers and regulated uniform items that required shredding were sent to special facilities in Arizona or Massachusetts to be turned into more fabric for use in couch and pillow cushions. Of the 37,000 pounds of collected textile, approximately 11,538 pounds were donated as clothing and 25,462 pounds were shredded and donated as fabric, resulting in zero pounds going to landfill.

"At JetBlue, as soon as we decided to introduce new uniforms, we were thinking about how to reuse the old fabric, and filling local landfills was not an inspiring option. In a landfill, clothing releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. We wanted to avoid those unnecessary emissions just like we do with our fleet of modern aircraft and environmentally-efficient engines," said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability, JetBlue Airways. "Our core business is flying airplanes. When it comes to recycling fabric we knew we would need a partner such as Loomstate to show us how the extensive market of fabric recycling works."

Clothing that is frayed, worn, or stained can still be donated to organizations that recycle fabric. Although these items cannot necessarily be worn again, it can be transformed into something new. John Nagiecki, Planet Aid's director of communications said, "Fabric can have a second life. For example, old sweaters can be used as stuffing in baseballs and softballs, jeans can be converted into insulation for cars or houses, and the soles of shoes can be repurposed into paving materials. Reusing the materials in clothes means fewer new fibers have to be produced and it ultimately lessens the amount of pesticides and water used in the growing process."

Scott Mackinlay Hahn, Loomstate's cofounder and a Board member of the Council for Textile Recycling and the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovations Institute said, "JetBlue crewmembers have impressed us with their commitment to finding a second life for their clothing, from coast to coast across all the regions that we help serve. Along with them, our own customers want fashion that considers its impact from farmer to community, from its first use as clothing to its many reuses as clothing or other functions. Fashion and sustainability have come together. JetBlue's old uniforms have now entered the market to create more reusable material for the fashion industry. JetBlue's initiative for corporations across America has set a new standard and we are already looking at ways to improve upon that."

JetBlue crewmembers voluntarily brought in their old uniform pieces and the airline organized local pickups and deliveries to sorting centers. At these centers, pilot shirts were sent for shredding and recycling. Other pieces were packaged with donations of clothing and shoes from around the country and sent to communities in need in throughout the US, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Most of the clothing collected by Loomstate that was given to organizations such as Planet Aid will be given a second life. These items are bundled in Planet Aid warehouses and shipped to other countries where the demand for used clothing is high and profits will be used to fund charitable works.

"There are more than 11,000 uniformed crewmembers keeping our airline flying each day. This was a large consideration when deciding what to do with the thousands of pounds of uniforms we collected as we transitioned into the first new uniform update in our 14 year history," said Lisa Borromeo, director brand management, JetBlue Airways. "When considering our first uniform update, we were faced with the challenge of what to do with the thousands of pounds of old uniforms that we collected. With the help of partners like Loomstate, we did not send any fabric to landfills."

In 2010, Americans rid their closets of nearly 13.1 million tons of textiles. Yet, only 15 percent of that clothing was recycled or donated. In one year, more than 11 million tons of textiles were dumped in landfills within the United States alone. Decomposing clothing releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas and a significant contributor to climate change. There are also dyes and chemicals in clothing and shoes that can seep into the soil, contaminating water used to bathe and drink as well as grow food.

JetBlue encourages our customers to also explore ways to donate used clothing and fabric. Visit organizations reducing textile waste for more details at Loomstate.orgPlanetAid.org, SalvationArmyUSA.org or Goodwill.org.

To view a video on JetBlue's uniform recycling program, visit https://vimeo.com/107586668.

About Loomstate

Launched in New York City in 2004 by designers Scott Mackinlay Hahn and Rogan Gregory, Loomstate makes high quality fashion apparel and custom branded uniforms, with a focus on organic cotton, restorative textiles, and community empowerment. Loomstate is a pioneer in the conscious commerce movement where socially and environmentally responsible methods of production are fundamental. Loomstate is fully committed to organic agriculture and the bio-diverse balanced systems that support it. All of Loomstate's product is designed for re-use and to celebrate the company's "it's all connected" motto. Loomstate provides an innovative spectrum of services including design, sourcing and distribution. For more information please visit Loomstate.org. 

About Planet Aid

Planet Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inform, mobilize and inspire individuals and communities to work together to bring about worldwide environmental and social progress. As part of its environmental mission, Planet Aid collects and recycles approximately 100 million pounds of used clothing and shoes every year. Since 1997, Planet Aid has saved more than 900 million pounds of clothing from wasteful disposal.

Incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts and recognized as a tax-exempt charity under IRS code 501(c)(3), Planet Aid is registered with the U.S. Agency for International Development as a private voluntary organization (PVO). It has earned the Guidestar Exchange Seal for its commitment to transparency. For more information please visit PlanetAid.org.

ABOUT JETBLUE AIRWAYS

JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline™ and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 30 million customers a year to 86 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 850 daily flights. New service to Curacao begins in December, subject to receipt of government operating authority. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, an overnight stay is never required and the first bag is included with your standard fare (subject to weight and size limits and exceptions for itineraries including flights marketed or operated by other airlines). For more information please visit JetBlue.com.

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