All of us are trying to reduce our carbon footprint and take better care of the environment that surrounds us. According to Cleanair.org, 26-41% of 2.4 million tons of PET plastic (what water bottles are made out of) are discarded every year. Unfortunately, this type of plastic does not decompose in a landfill and continues to pollute our planet. With this in mind, I am sure you have seen recycling bins either at your work or school that helps encourage patrons to recycle the water bottles they have just used.
With this water bottle issue, Michigan Technological University has taken on the challenge to put used water bottles to good use, and have the recycled remnants used for the fabric of their graduation gowns and caps at the university’s upcoming commencement ceremonies in late April. The graduation gowns and caps will not be made out of actual plastic, but out of a yarn called Repreve (made by Unifi, a leading raw materials company) that is converted from recycled water bottles. It takes 27 plastic bottles to make the yarn for one gown.
An example of what a Repreve-based gown and cap looks like is shown in this article’s header image of MTU student Emily Baker.
Vice President of Student Affairs’ Assistant Beth Pollins exclaimed the following statement to Newswise about this year’s graduation “environmentally friendly” attire:
“We’re excited about this. We’ve wanted to do this for quite a while, and it has finally come together. It’s part of our strategic plan to enhance our commitment to sustainability, so this is a great demonstration of our efforts.”
Since 27 water bottles are made for one commencement gown, with approximately 1,000 graduates involved at MTU’s upcoming commencement ceremony, 27,000 empty bottles will be put to good use instead of laying forever in a landfill. After the upcoming April commencement, graduates can donate their gowns/caps to be recycled once again, because this will now be the standard graduation attire.
What do you think of this environmentally friendly move? Be sure to leave your response below in this post’s comments section.