Old work clothes collected for over 10 tonnes of recycling material

As the most sustainable trading sector company in the world, Kesko wants to do its part to promote circular economy. Discarded work clothes from rebranded stores were collected and recycled to produce material that can be utilised, for example, by the car industry.

Last spring, K-rauta and Rautia stores were brought together to form a new K-Rauta chain under a new brand. Following an idea by one K-Rauta employee, discarded work clothes, flags and other textiles sporting the old brands were collected from 140 stores and recycled. K Group’s partner L&T delivered the 10.5 tonnes of discarded textiles to a recycling plant in Germany.

“The recycling of clothes has become a very hot topic in recent years. It’s a very concrete example of circular economy in action. At the recycling plant, an industrial process is used to shred the textiles into fibres, which can then be used by the car industry, for example,“ explains Erkki Hilden, Account Manager for Environmental Services at L&T.

“It makes me very happy to know that our old work clothes have been put to good use,” says Riitta Ilvonen, the store manager at K-Rauta Rautapertti in Imatra, who first came up with the idea.

K Group intends to use the same model for recycling work clothes also in hundreds of K-food stores.

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