Group recycles gowns

Group recycles gowns

Graduation caps and gowns hang on display for purchase in the SUPestore at the Ferg. CW | Amy Sullivan

Paige Henderson

For many students, graduation gowns serve as a point of pride, as they represent the pay off for years of hard work. However, most of these gowns are worn once for a short amount of time and then never 
used again.

After working for a a big company in the graduation industry for 11 years, Seth Yon, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, said he knew that there had to be a solution to end all the waste and lessen the negative impact on the environment from the polyester gowns.

“Greener Grads began in 2014, with the goal of creating a company that wasn’t just adding to the waste and pollution problem, but that was 
reusing what materials already 
existed,” he said.

Greener Grads collects all gowns from donation and then steam-cleans and barcodes the gowns to prepare them for renting. Each gown can be used up to 15 times before it needs to 
be repurposed.

“With collection efforts having expanded to 21 states, the company is now moving into the renting phase, while continuing collection efforts,” Yon said. “We have diverted 10,000-plus pounds of polyester in nine short months.”

Mark Palisoc, a senior majoring in marketing, said he would be open to donating his gown to a cause like Greener Grads.

“The main thing is the degree; I’m not going to be wearing the gown again,” he said. “If someone else can get use out of the gown, that’s the practical thing 
to do.”