A score for sustainability: Cambridge University football teams step out in recycled kit

A score for sustainability: Cambridge University football teams step out in recycled kit
March 24, 2023
Posted by:
Shay Strawser

Cambridge University Association Football Club (CUAFC) will wear an innovatively recycled football kit for the 37th Women’s Varsity Match and the 138th Men’s Varsity Match against Oxford University on Sunday 19th March.

The kits include shirts, shorts and socks made from OEKO-TEX certified recycled yarn, produced by recycling used plastic bottles. At the Varsity matches, CUAFC are wearing the equivalent of 2,500 plastic 0.5 litre bottles, approximately 30 bottles per player.To produce the kits, post-consumer PET plastic bottles are first shredded into small pieces in a recycling plant and cleaned. The parts are melted and the resulting mass is pressed into the desired shape by extrusion. From this the yarn is produced and further processed into fabric which is used to make clothing. The result: Kits made entirely from plastic bottles.

Matt Hawthorn, captain of the men's team, studying Land Economy at Pembroke College says: “We are proud, as the oldest football club in the world, to lead the way on sustainability in Cambridge sport by choosing kits made from recycled plastic bottles. As sports teams typically need to order new kits for each season and for the Varsity matches, this is a first step towards reducing our environmental footprint.”

Fran Steele, captain of the women’s team, studying Medicine at Wolfson College says: “CUAFC is incredibly excited to be wearing a sustainable kit at the Varsity Match 2023. As a club, we are proud to promote the use of recyclable sports kits, which can help to raise awareness about environmental issues and encourage others to adopt more sustainable practices. The use of this sports kit for this large event is a small but impactful way to contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious future.”The kits have been developed by Appareal, a Swiss-based company whose mission is to provide sustainable clothing from recycled sources. It was co-founded four years ago by Andy Wright, who took up studying an Mst at Selwyn College in 2022. Having read the College’s Sustainability Charter, Mr Wright saw an opportunity to expand it through the use of sustainable sports clothing.The men's and women's Varsity matches against Oxford University will take place on the 19th of March at the Breyer Group Stadium in Leyton, East London, home to League 2 leaders Leyton Orient. Tickets can be bought on the Leyton Orient.