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”.