10 May 2010

Wake Forest graduates to wear recycled plastic bottle gowns

As Wake Forest graduates make their way to the stage to accept their degrees, they will be making a statement about the future—Earth’s future. This year Wake Forest graduates will be wearing graduation gowns made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, made by Oak Hall Cap & Gown.

“College students and campuses are at the forefront of environmental conscience and green habits,” says Joseph D’Angelo, executive vice president of Oak Hall.“When we started seeing such campus trends as biodegradable utensils, we felt developing an environmentally friendly gown was the right thing to do for students, colleges and universities and our planet.

Each graduate adorned with GreenWeaver graduation attire will be saving landfills from approximately 23 plastic bottles. As of March 1, 2010, Oak Hall Cap & Gown says 3.5 million plastic bottles have been reclaimed to produce the regalia.

"It's good to see universities looking at sustainability at all levels. Gowns made from recycled materials or reusable cloth gowns are both good options. As students walk up to the stage, there will be a degree of understanding that it's important to look for sustainable options in all areas of life," says Dedee DeLongpre Johnston, sustainability director at Wake Forest. "Hopefully, colleges and universities will continue to find ways to make graduation ceremonies more eco-friendly in the future."

Prior to developing the plastic bottle gowns, Oak Hall had already taken steps to protect the environment with programs including using recycled cardboard in caps and switching to a non-polluting dry-cleaning machine.

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