New lives for old uniforms


When Hactl recently began the process of replacing its frontline staff uniforms, the principal aims were naturally to create new workwear that combined functionality and comfort, and supported the corporate brand. The new uniforms have, indeed, proven very popular with staff.

For most companies, that would have been enough; but at Hactl, we are also strongly-committed to ESG, which raised questions over how to dispose of the 8,000+ old uniforms in an environmentally-responsible manner, and one which adhered to our recently-published Strategic Sustainability Framework – which sets policy and targets in every facet of our business. For us, the ideal would be to give the old uniforms a useful second life, while also raising awareness about sustainability and waste reduction among our staff.

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After a great deal of careful thought, which included addressing the technical difficulties of recycling the different types of fabric and materials, Hactl opted for a more challenging approach – one that would upcycle the old uniforms, but also avoid purchasing any additional materials such as buttons or zips.

The end result was a design for a useful, durable and stylish holdall. In addition, we designed a particularly cute toy bear that uses the fabric remnants not suitable for the construction of the bags.

Apart from reducing landfill and giving new life to existing materials, by upcycling the old Hactl uniforms into useful items, Hactl hopes it will inspire others to live sustainably through conscious consumption, make better use of waste and unwanted items, and take small daily actions daily that collectively create a greener community. These are all aims of Hactl’s “Green Living Reimagined” initiative, which is designed to raise awareness about sustainable living.

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But this innovative project goes even further. It is a collaboration between Hactl and the St. James’ Settlement Jockey Club Upcycling Centre – the first one-stop eco-creative hub in Hong Kong – and has taught new skills to people with disabilities and provided them with paid work.

“Our members enjoy upcycling the used fabric into bags. They were taught new techniques and were able to challenge themselves with tasks that require more sophisticated skills and careful handling. This not only empowers them technically, but also makes them feel respected and valued,” Sonia Tsang, Project Manager of St. James’ Settlement Jockey Club Upcycling Centre, said.