JetBlue switched to a new uniform last year, but found an eco-way to keep all the old, worn and never-worn crew uniforms out of landfills.
The solution: upcycling.
JetBlue joined up with Manhattan Portage, the company that first popularized and continues to make iconic New York City bicycle messenger bags and this week (just in time for Earth Day) rolled out the “JetBlue Uniform Bag Collection,” a line of five items made from unworn recycled uniforms and available online and in Manhattan Portage stores.
The toiletry case ($39) exteriors are made from JetBlue’s signature windowpane flight attendant shirts, the linings are made of scarves, and the handles are former neckties. The City Lights bag ($45) is made out of recycled pilot shirts, with intact pockets and pilot wings. The Sohobo bags ($89) were once all-weather jackets, the backpack ($109) is made from recycled JetBlue rain pants and all-weather vests have been turned into Europa bags ($115).
While the new line of upcycled bags puts unworn uniforms to good use, JetBlue also found a way to recycle the old uniforms crewmembers wore. In 2014, the airline donated 37,000 pounds of old uniforms, clothing and fabrics to a non-profit that planned to sell the material and use the proceeds to support a variety of programs in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Old fabrics from other airlines are also being upcycled.
Skyebags turns recycled aircraft leather from Delta Air Lines into wallets, toiletry bags and totes. Leather from replaced leather seats on Alaska Airlines is being reborn as carry-on bags in a line by Mariclaro. And while Looptworks has sold out of the totes it was making out of leather from old Southwest Airlines seats, its LUV line still has some duffle bags, toiletry cases and backpacks for sale.
(My story about JetBlue upcycling old uniforms first appeared on USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky blog in a slightly different format.)