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Clergy robes made entirely from recycled plastic bottles go on sale

18 May 2018


CASSOCKS and tippets (scarves) made entirely from recycled plastic bottles have gone on sale for the first time, in response to the growing movement away from single-use plastics.

The clerical-wear company Butler & Butler has sourced a fabric made from melted-down plastic bottles, which is formed into threads and then woven into cassocks and scarves.

The end result is a “really soft fabric which is much nicer than reg­ular polyester”, its director, the Revd Simon Butler, said.

Forty recycled bottles are used to make each cassock. The plastic cassocks cost £189, and scarves, £45.

The company began looking for a recycled plastic fabric when stories of pollution caused by plastics began hitting the headlines.

Their range of clerical wear previously included Fairtrade pure-cotton shirts, as well as poly-cotton, which is partially derived from plastics.

“We began asking: is there some­­where that recycles plastics, which we can use? We eventually found a company in India which provides us with a recycled plastic fabric. It is more expensive for us to buy because of the extra process, but it produces a really nice fabric.

Unlike the company’s other products, the recycled plastic cassocks and scarves cannot be designated Fairtrade, as the designation does not cover 100-per-cent man-made fibres. Mr Butler said that the company uses rigorous auditing, however, to ensure that every element of its supply chain is “non-exploitative”

Westminster initiative. On Tuesday, Parliament announced a compre­hensive range of steps to reduce drastically its consumption of single-use plastics by 2019. Measures “will virtually eliminate single-use avoidable plastics from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, replacing them with compostable alternatives or reusable options”.

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