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Need to Know

Atlanta's Plastic Waste Takes on New Life as Host Committee Uniforms

Plastic bottles collected from destinations around Atlanta are being converted to sustainable apparel, highlighting the city's commitment to zero waste.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is working with partners to promote the importance of recycling. Together with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Georgia Aquarium and global textile solutions provider Unifi, Inc., ATL is supporting a circular economy by collecting plastic bottles to be transformed into REPREVE recycled fiber for use in athletic and fashion apparel.

The partners are unveiling a special edition GreeningATL uniform for the Atlanta Host Committee. The eco-friendly jackets are made with REPREVE, a branded recycled fiber made from plastic bottles. Bottles were collected from ATL, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Georgia Aquarium, and then transported to the Unifi recycling facility in North Carolina to create recycled fiber. Each Host Committee jacket uses six plastic bottles, preventing tons of waste from going into landfills and oceans.

"GreeningATL reflects our commitment to managing our resources and integrating innovation for a sustainable future," said Liza Milagro, resilience and sustainability manager for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in a statement. "By partnering with Unifi to create these special edition uniforms, we're making our zero waste policy tangible and showing Atlanta's visitors our commitment to sustainability."

Compared to its daily average of 60,000 to 75,000 visitors, ATL expects more than 3.2 million to travel through the airport between January 25 and February 5, 2019. It is estimated that those visitors will generate more than 400 tons of divertible recyclables. This circular economy initiative will collect and convert recyclable plastic bottles into REPREVE fiber.

To date, Unifi has recycled more than 14 billion plastic bottles to make REPREVE and aims to recycle 20 billion bottles by 2020.

"Our goal in partnering during one of the busiest times of the year is to demonstrate the importance and impact of the circular economy, where recycling, reuse and transformation of items results in a 'greener' airport and more sustainable city," said Richard Gerstein, executive vice president, global chief marketing and innovation officer at Unifi, in a statement.

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