United Airlines is working with upcycling partner, Looptworks to produce additional employee facemasks created from old uniforms.
Made from 12,284 pounds of uniforms, 7,500 face coverings have been delivered to front line employees at San Francisco International Airport and the airline’s San Francisco maintenance base.
The move follows the roll out of new Carhartt Company Gear for its 28,000 Technical Operations, Ramp Service and Catering Operations employees. United had planned to turn the surplus older garments into carpet padding and insulation fibre. The company changed course last month to align with the latest guidance from the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) to wear face masks in public when social distancing is not possible.
Janet Lamkin, United Airlines SVP and President, California, said: “Recycling these unused uniforms into masks is a natural extension of our broader effort to overhaul our cleaning, social distancing and mitigation measures to ensure we’re doing everything possible to keep our employees and our customers safe.”
In April, United became the first major U.S.-based airline to require flight attendants to wear a face mask while on duty, and beginning in May, expanded that mandate to include all employees and customers onboard.