, UK
Subway's new uniforms. /Photo provided.

Subway designs new uniforms from recycled plastic bottles

It was launched to augment the national rollout of Subway’s restaurant transformation.

Subway is releasing a new uniform for its Sandwich Artists made from recycled plastic.

The release of the uniforms will augment Subway’s ongoing national rollout of the modernised Subway "Fresh Forward” restaurant design. Consisting of a T-Shirt, polo shirt, half and full apron, cap, and bandana, Subway’s new uniforms are all made from recycled plastic bottles.

Each garment has been carefully designed to ensure comfort and durability, whilst maintaining Subway’s distinctive branding and iconic colour pallets. The range includes the distinctive green in Sandwich Artists’ T-shirts, while a sleek black polo shirt design will be worn by managers. Two apron styles as well as the signature baseball cap and bandana, will put the finishing touches to the new Subway look.

The fabric used for the garments has been specially woven into a polyester blend that uses recycled plastic bottles, and BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) cotton in the T-shirt and polo shirt, to create the brand-new designs, and clearly communicates how many bottles were used to create each item. The plastic bottles are collected and chopped into flakes, which is then made into a fibre yarn, and is ready to be woven into fabric to make the garments.

The baseball caps are made from three plastic bottles, the bandana from five bottles, the half apron from eight plastic bottles whilst the full apron is made from 12 bottles. Meanwhile, the new T-shirts and Polos are a mix of BCI cotton and recycled polyester. The polo shirts for men were made with seven plastic bottles whilst six plastic bottles were used to make the female shirts. The T-shirts were made with eight plastic bottles.

Green commitment

In line with the brand’s commitment to building a better and more sustainable business, the uniforms have been designed to last longer. During trials, 70% of Subway’s Franchisees and Sandwich Artists rated them positively for comfort and durability.

To close the loop, Subway will be working with textile recycling experts Avena Group to collect and process the old uniforms that will be replaced during this transition. Avena Group will process the textiles from the old uniforms into a new material for reuse across industries such as automotive and construction. In addition, Subway will also be donating any old stock items to charities to use for food and nutrition initiatives. For example, 1,000 unused aprons left over from the old uniform are being provided to Rethink Food for schools to use as grow mats for watercress, helping children learn about how fresh fruit and vegetables grow. 

The refresh of the new uniforms follows on from the brand’s mission to reduce single-use plastic in restaurants. By the end of 2022, Subway removed over 1.2m kg of single-use plastic across its supply chain, whilst pilot programmes using reusable packaging are being trialled in restaurants across France and Germany.

“As we continue this journey towards building a better Subway, it’s incredibly important that we look at all areas of our business where we can make a positive impact. The new uniforms, made from recycled plastic bottles, is what we believe are a first for a high street restaurant brand and reflect our ongoing commitment to improving how we do business.  This is still only the beginning, and we hope to make further progress in the years ahead – stay tuned,” Louise Wardle, Vice President of Marketing EMEA at Subway.

The uniforms will be rolled out to Subway restaurants in the UK, Ireland and across Europe from May and throughout 2023.

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