Cintas makes uniforms from bottles, plants to cater to business' eco-friendly initiatives

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part of a three-part series on Tri-State business sustainability initiatives that have inspired industry standards and ideas across the nation. 

MASON, Ohio – The person who checked you into your hotel room, took down your information at the hospital or parked your car at valet may have also diverted dozens of bottles from a landfill—just with the clothes they had on.

You likely didn’t notice. It looked like any old suit. But the fashion team who designed it dedicated years to researching how to make a clothing line out of nothing but plastic bottles, and they’re still researching how to make clothing out of even more.

Cintas Corporation, known for manufacturing highly specialized items sold to more than one million businesses nationwide, is behind a push to make businesses across the country more sustainable with the uniforms their employees wear.

The Mason-based company claims that more than five million people in the hospitality, health care, gaming and banking industries wear its uniforms every day. Ten employees work exclusively on designing those uniforms in Chicago. 

“One of our partners brought us the technology of breaking down the plastic bottles into particles and breaking it down further into yarn,” said Michelle Dortche, a Cintas designer who focuses on researching sustainable fabric options for the company.

WCPO Insiders can find out how Cintas turns plastic bottles into fabric, read about what else it has in the works, and learn who is buying the uniforms and why.  

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