As companies everywhere strive to reduce their impact on the world, balancing sustainability obligations with arc flash safety has been tricky – until now.
ProGARM, the arc flash specialists, have a recognised history of innovating with sustainability, offering services that enhance their customers Environmental and Social Governance while maintaining their own focus on arc flash protection with unparalleled comfort and quality.
Now, ProGARM are the first in the world to launch a range of protective clothing which meets all the high arc flash protection standards but contains recycled content, for added sustainability for themselves and importantly their customers.
And the way it’s been able to do it also means buyers can be certain of the origins of the recycled content – because it’s taken from the ProGARM’s existing product range. By using off-cuts from ProGARM’s own manufacturing and putting them back into the production process the business removes any question marks over the quality and protection levels of any other recycled content which may have been worn and suffered degradation to the protection it offers.
As the protection in the ProGARM range is inherent – part of the fibres themselves rather than sprayed on to the material after manufacture – the protection isn’t compromised by breaking down and re-using these offcuts as part of the raw fibres that make the material for the new range of coveralls, jackets, and trousers.
ProGARM’s head of product development, Adrian Jaoudat, said: “This range has been years in the making. To find the optimum balance of protection verses recycled content we have had to conduct many tests and trials. We needed to create something which would meet all the high testing standards arc flash PPE is subjected to, this was our priority, because if you’re caught in an arc flash incident, the result could be life-ending, or life-changing as you are exposed to intense temperatures hotter than the sun.
“There is absolutely no compromise on performance with the new range we have developed, by using off-cuts from our manufacturing process, we can recycle material we are certain about, because it is clean, unused and ours. We turn the fibres back into their original form and use them to make up to 20% of the raw material used to create the fabrics for this range.
“Because the arc flash protection is inherent within the fibres of the ProGARM range, it isn’t reduced as it goes through this recycling process and using this recycled content doesn’t reduce the protection the clothing provides, ensuring maximum protection is maintained for the wearer.”
The range is available in three colourways – navy, high-vis yellow and a combined navy and high-vis yellow. It features coveralls, jackets, and trousers and like the rest of the ProGARM range is available in both men’s and women’s cuts.
It’s certified for standards covering arc flash (APC1, ELIM 8cal), fire resistance (EN11612, A1 + A2), welding (EN11611), anti-static (EN1149-5), and high visibility. So, it not only performs the way other arc flash garments do, but has materially less impact, a big plus for customers looking to increase the sustainability credentials within their own businesses.
ProGARM manufactures the new range at their own facility in mainland Europe and products are transported by sea and land in consolidated loads to reduce unnecessary journeys. ProGARM products travel up to 60% less than product from other suppliers, to reach their UK destinations, with deliveries also carefully planned to minimise mileage and carbon footprint. ProGARM reduced its number of deliveries by 10% in 2021/22 by careful planning, it achieved this even while substantially growing its business and maintaining its industry-leading delivery timescales, which importantly are measured in days, not weeks.
The range also benefits from sustainable, carbon neutral packaging, made from a plant-based polymer which is a waste product from the sugar industry, further improving the sustainability offer.
This is not the first sustainability venture from ProGARM, who have recently launched several activities to improve sustainability for their own business and those of their customers. “Reducing the impact that we, and our products have on the planet is a priority for our business.” says Nathan Bricknell General manager of ProGARM.
“Our commitment to being a more sustainable business means not only being at the forefront of the technological design and manufacture, but also making sure our products and business practices have a positive impact on both people and the planet. We’ve made great leaps in the past couple of years, but we know we still have a way to go, and we are dedicated to getting there in the most sustainable manner. It’s not an easy road to take, but by making tough decisions along the way, we can be a driver of change both in our business and our industry for the better. We also believe that it is our responsibility to enable our customers to make better choices too. Which is why we also recently introduced ProGARM RECYCLE”
The businesses’ new recycling initiative was developed to prevent ProGARM garments being part of the 350,000 tonnes of textiles that go into landfill in the UK every year, by offering every UK customer the ability to return their PPE to ProGARM at the end of its life for reprocessing.
Inspiringly, it is not just ProGARM own garments that customers are able to return, but any end-of-life PPE garments that they need to dispose of. All items are then recycled and re-used for other purposes, avoiding landfill, and helping feed into a circular economy.
To allow ProGARM to offer this sustainability enhancing service, they have partnered with an industry-leading textiles recycling company who are committed to sending zero textiles waste to landfill. Their partner is certificated to ISO9001 (Quality), ISO14001 (Environmental) and ISO45001 (H&S), this compliments ProGARMS own ISO9001, 14001 & 27001 certificate.
To ensure that their service fits their wide variety of customers, from small single sites to multi location corporations, they have ensured that ProGARM RECYCLE has a returns and collection ability that scales per individual requirement, allowing options from ad hoc single boxes to 1100L bins collected every week.
And as many customers have branded PPE recognisable to, and trusted by the public, ProGARM have established a route that guarantees that there is no danger of identifiable PPE getting into the wrong hands, protecting vulnerable members of the public, and the brands themselves. ProGARM RECYCLE works in accordance with BS EN: 15713-2009 Secure Destruction of Confidential Material Code of Practice ensuring all branded items are shredded and de-badged the moment they hit site safeguarding any vulnerabilities.
Even more impressive it’s not just fabric garments that can be recycled through the ProGARM service, but all aspects of your usual PPE or general workwear can be returned, this includes, boots, gloves, safety glasses and helmets, nothing goes to landfill.
ProGARM even provide a service option to their customers that allows them to extend the life of their PPE garments, before disposing and recycling even becomes an option. In 2021 ProGARM created the first repair programme for arc flash PPE, which helps with sustainability by making minor repairs to garment components such as zips and fastenings to enhance the longevity of every garment.
With arc flash clothing, even a small rip which happens during the rigorous workday of the wearer would mean it no longer offered the life-saving protection needed and would mean it had to be thrown away. The combination of ProGARM’s focus on durability and the option for small repairs to fastenings means their range can lasts longer.
While buyers and procurement teams, struggle to achieve sustainability around arc flash protective clothing, ProGARM are committed to continuing the development of simple effective ways for customers to make an impact on their own sustainability goals and pushing the industry to achieve more.
ProGARM’s new sustainable range is available through distributors. You can see the range at Sustainable Collection Archives – ProGARM