Workers in the oil and gas sector often wear distinctive uniforms like boiler suits. But what happens when these uniforms are no longer usable? Instead of throwing them away, Bunker One Brazil came up with a solution. The red boiler suits from Nova Offshore, Bunker One Brazil's subsidiary, are now transformed into eco-friendly bags—a part of a unique project by the Danish marine fuel supply giant. The leftover material that can't be used for bags will be turned into pencil cases.
The project, centred in Niteroi, Brazil, where Nova Offshore operates, is about generating income and supporting the local community. Skilled seamstresses from the NGO “Mulheres do Sul Global” are behind the transformation, working to empower Latin American refugees and vulnerable women. Collaborating with businesswoman Vanessa Fraga, Bunker One ensures a sustainable approach through a thrift store known for upcycling practices and carbon-neutral certification.
The initiative took shape in May when boiler suits were sent to Charlotte Brechó for processing by a specialised company. The cleaned uniforms then reach the sewists without any chemical residue. Bunker One Brazil supplies the materials and compensates the NGO for each piece; at least 60% of the value goes to the sewers. The deliveries began in September, with ongoing production aiming for zero waste.
Flavio Ribeiro, Managing Director of Bunker One Brazil, highlights the company's commitment to sustainability, having already offset carbon emissions and sponsoring biofuel tests. Recycling uniforms aligns with their goals for a more sustainable planet. Gloria Sousa from Bunker One Brazil's ESG department notes the varying lifespan of uniforms. There's no fixed disposal deadline to avoid unnecessary waste, and upcycling doesn't rely on an industrial process, making it flexible even if there are minor imperfections. Each boiler suit can make up to two bags, depending on its condition.
"We seek zero waste, so we included pencil cases in production to use every part besides bags. The bags will have corporate use initially, with a later stage distributing cases to the school community for a broader social impact," explains Gloria.
The partnership between Bunker One Brazil and Mulheres do Sul Global ensures a constant flow of orders, supporting women's economic empowerment. The project aims to continue exploring upcycled products like cases, backpacks, and suitcases. This global pioneer project is part of Bunker One's latest ESG report*, with hopes that this experience will inspire replication by other offices and companies in the oil and gas sector.
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