Finnair’s uniform approach to recycling
Finnair is to give old crew uniforms a new lease of life, by recycling them or even turning them into outdoor items such as pots, tables, and benches.
The recycling approach has made the Finnish carrier one of the leading champions of sustainability in aviation.
Under the new initiative, all uniform parts in good condition previously used by ground and Cabin Crew are being refurbished for ‘wear-ready’ for the next user.
Finnair is also working with top-flight Finnish work-clothing manufacturer Image Wear to turn some of their old ground and Cabin Crew uniforms into garden furniture.
Merja Lindberg, Finnair Uniform Manager, said: “Finnair takes sustainability seriously and we make sure our stylish high-quality crew uniforms are long-lasting and able to be refreshed and reused for years to come.
“But before their quality begins to diminish, we are able to give them a new lease of life thanks to working in close partnership with famous Finnish work-clothing manufacturer Image Wear.
“Using their expertise, they can even turn our worn-out uniforms into raw materials which can be used in composite materials which eventually become part of new hard-wearing products, such as tables and benches.”
Thanks to its sustainable manufacturing practices, Image Wear can combine shredded textiles from worn-out Finnair uniforms with recycled plastic particles to create new composite materials.
This versatile material – 48% recycled textile, 48% recycled plastic and 4% binders – can then be moulded into various items, specifically designed for outdoor use such as pots, tables, and benches.
Kati Tukiainen, Image Wear Responsibility Manager, said: “Composite products are durable – their estimated lifespan is around 50 years, and at the end of their lifecycle, they can still be recycled into new products. In this way, worn-out work clothes do not end up as waste, but continue their life in a new form”.
Uniforms were first introduced for the airline in 1947 when Finnair’s predecessor, Aero O/Y, employed just six female Flight Attendants (male stewards only started in 1959).
The dark blue suit was ordered from a tailor at the men’s tailor shop in Helsinki’s prestigious Stockmann department store, which has become a firm favourite for Finnish shoppers.
The current Cabin Crew uniform, designed by Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen, was introduced in 2011.
Featuring a combination of dark blue and white clothing, including shirts, skirts, trousers, jackets, jumpers, ties and scarfs Finnair’s latest crew uniform has become an integral part of the airline’s identity.
Exuding style, Finnair uniforms are carefully designed to prioritise the well-being and comfort of those who wear them. As well as boasting exceptional durability and longevity, Finnair’s uniform strategy supports the carrier’s determination to be part of Finland’s sustainable and circular economy.
Customers can see a special display of Finnair uniforms from the airline’s last 100 years at Helsinki Airport, as part of its centenary celebrations.
To learn more about Finnair’s Reuse and Recycle programme, visit finnair.com