From Med to Plate

Sustainable products are of growing significance. The recycling of used plastics and plastic waste into new materials is gaining in importance – also for workwear.

Despite current projects and efforts the Mediterranean Sea continues to be a plastic waste hotspot according to environmental foundation WWF Deutschland. In addition to a high concentration of micro plastics in the water, plastics also account for 95% of the waste found in the Med or at its beaches.

What if purchasing workwear helped to remove plastic waste from the sea? Specialised in catering wear, the Kaya&Kato experts asked exactly this question and have developed the “Clean Ocean” collection in response. The input material for recycling chef’s jackets and aprons partly stems from plastic waste collected in the Med. Off the Spanish coast fishermen collect the waste that they bring up in their fishnets. The cleaned and sorted by-catch is then converted into granulates, which are processed into new polyester yarn. This is combined with other natural and ecological fibres to form a special polyester-Lyocell blended fabric. The fabric for the collection is woven and ecologically dyed in Spain, the garments are sewn in Northern Macedonia.

Each metre of this Clean Ocean fabric contains to the tune of 12.5 PET bottles. By this recycling process the workwear with a sustainability claim saves 21% CO2 and 20% energy. Those behind Kaya&Kato have calculated that the CO2 savings for 1,000 running metres of fabric correspond to a car ride of some 11,000 kilometres. Which does not mean, of course, that the company’s employees use their cars more often. Instead, the young Cologne entrepreneurs wish to set new standards for the production of workwear and have set out to not only commercialise workwear outfits manufactured under fair conditions using fabrics from certified organic agriculture, but to also launch other recycled, eco-friendly products.

Photo: Kaya&Kato