Switching to sustainable workwear and PPE

Switching to sustainable workwear and PPE

clock-circular-outline Posted 26 Jul 2022



Is it possible to switch to sustainable workwear and sustainable PPE with no negative repercussions? Andrew Grinnell investigates…


Sustainability. It’s a word we’re hearing more and more. There is increasing recognition that it is time we all started behaving – and buying – more ethically, with more regard to the people and planet around us.


But, let’s get real for a moment. Is it actually possible to switch to sustainable workwear and sustainable PPE with no negative repercussions? Or are there always compromises to be made?


In pursuit of sustainable workwear and sustainable PPE


You want your business to act in a more ethical, environmentally-friendly and socially conscious way, procuring products and services that fit with this ethos and have minimal impact on the world around them.


The alternatives that you need and want are out there, but is it just a simple case of making the switch? Well, not quite – but it can be done, it just needs a little care and planning.


Sustainable workwear and sustainable PPE: the possibilities


Sustainable workwear and sustainable PPE options have been around in the marketplace for a while. However, if you’re not careful, choosing sustainable options can mean compromising in other areas, such as comfort or durability.


At iSB Group, we work with some of the world’s leading manufacturers of safety equipment and workwear – businesses that, like us, don’t believe in compromise when it comes to any part of the triumvirate of safety, comfort and longevity.


The carbon neutral and recycled options we offer in our ranges, therefore, may not have been the first to the market, but we believe they represent the best of what is possible right now.


The fact is that some recycled materials aren’t as strong as their non-recycled cousins, and others aren’t as comfortable or wearable. Safety gloves that are made from 100% recycled materials, for example, can’t offer the same comfort or fit as those that include some lycra. Likewise, safety shoes made entirely from recycled materials won’t last as long as those made from 50% or 60% recycled content, combined with some non-recycled PU.


Our tip: Just because you can make something from entirely recycled materials, doesn’t mean that it is always the best all-round option. What good is a 100% recycled safety shoe that wears out within a couple of months, meaning you go through six pairs in a year instead of just one? In this case, you’d be better off choosing one of the safety shoes on the market that contain zero recycled content, is made in the EU and comes with an 18-month warranty (feel free to ask us!), as this will make a far bigger difference to your business’s environmental impact especially in terms of waste reduction.


The key when choosing sustainable workwear and PPE is to take time to understand what it is you’re looking for, and to work with a reputable supplier that can help you to find it. In this way, you’ll avoid falling into the trap of reactive buying, or becoming a victim of ‘greenwashing’.


Switching to sustainable workwear and sustainable PPE: the downside


Unfortunately, there is one elephant in the room that we haven’t yet mentioned – money. Right now, sustainable workwear and PPE options are often more expensive than other products of their type.


This is not insurmountable, though. If your business is willing, you can find ways to mitigate against these increased costs, and a good supplier will work with you towards this goal.


At iSB Group, we help logistics businesses to identify and understand the environmental impact of their workwear and PPE spend and look for ways to bring about improvements. We help to plan and execute trials and roll-out of products in such a way that it doesn’t impact operations or have high uplift in costs.


One of the ways we do this is by helping businesses to eliminate rogue spend through implementing guided buying via our online ordering system Control-iT®. By managing what can be ordered, by whom, and how often, the software allows you to keep control of your workwear and PPE costs, and helps you plan for and forecast future spend.


Find out more: Talk to us about how we can help you plan for a more sustainable future through your workwear and PPE.


Sustainable workwear and sustainable PPE: the future


Another reason to work with a reputable supplier is that they will be ahead of the curve when it comes to future developments in this area.


The best manufacturers continue to strive for innovation in product design and fabric technology – and increasing sustainability is a key area of focus.


Being more sustainable isn’t something a business can achieve by itself – there are too many moving parts in the supply chain for that. But, by surrounding your business with others that can support and guide you in your journey, you may find the journey easier than you think.


Andrew Grinnell By Andrew Grinnell

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clock-circular-outline Posted 26 Mar 2023
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