Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Plastic fantastic – Cambridge University Varsity football match kit is made from recycled bottles





The Cambridge University Association Football Club (CUAFC) men’s and women’s squads will take the pitch for the 150th anniversary Varsity football match at The Cledara Abbey Stadium today (Friday, 15 March) in kit made from more than 2,000 plastic bottles.

Cambridge University Association Football Club’s kit for the 150th anniversary of the Varsity Match is made from recycled bottles. Picture: Ben Chattell
Cambridge University Association Football Club’s kit for the 150th anniversary of the Varsity Match is made from recycled bottles. Picture: Ben Chattell

The design copies the match kit from the 1905 Varsity fixture against Oxford but the shirts, shorts and socks for the 39th women’s Varsity match and the 139th men’s fixture are made from OEKO-TEX certified recycled yarn, produced by recycling plastic bottles.

The kit is sponsored by Cambridge Zero, the university’s climate change initiative, and Cambridge-based remote access software company RealVNC.

Dr Amy Munro-Faure, Cambridge Zero’s head of student engagement, and Elizabeth Simpson, student engagement coordinator, joined CUAFC captains, presidents and treasurers to present a signed jersey to Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Prentice.

Prof Prentice said: “This shirt is a symbol of the real determination we all have at Cambridge to tackle climate change on every front. Good luck to the teams on Friday.”

Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Prentice, centre, with the jersey for the 150th anniversary of the Varsity Match with, from left, Cambridge University Association Football Club’s Ross Harrison, Men’s Blues captain Cai La Trobe Roberts, and Women’s Blues co-captains Emilia Keavney and Abbie Hastie. Picture: Ben Chattell
Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Prentice, centre, with the jersey for the 150th anniversary of the Varsity Match with, from left, Cambridge University Association Football Club’s Ross Harrison, Men’s Blues captain Cai La Trobe Roberts, and Women’s Blues co-captains Emilia Keavney and Abbie Hastie. Picture: Ben Chattell

Elizabeth said funding for the kit came after the club applied for sponsorship to Cambridge Zero’s student societies climate fund.

She said: “The design of yesteryear, made with today’s technology to help secure a sustainable future? That’s an irresistible request.”

One million plastic bottles are purchased worldwide every minute, and half of all plastic produced is for single-use purposes.

CUAFC treasurer Ross Harrison said Varsity players wanted match-day kit modelled on 1905 but which showed how we can turn around the polluting trends of the last 150 years.

“It’s a shirt that pays homage to Cambridge’s esteemed footballing history and recognises the need for new innovative solutions for cutting plastic waste,” he said.

FIFA estimates there are more than 200 million football players worldwide and billions of supporters. Women’s Blues co-captain Abbie Hastie said it was inspiring to think that the choice of kit could help cut billions of tonnes of plastic waste across the planet.

“Saving the planet is the biggest goal any athlete could score,” she said.

The first step to produce the kit is to shred PET plastic bottles into small pieces in a recycling plant, clean and melt them, and press the resulting mass into the desired shape by extrusion. The yarn is then made and further processed into fabric to make clothing.

Cambridge Zero’s Elizabeth Simpson and Dr Amy Munro-Faure, centre, with the jersey for the 150th anniversary of the Varsity Match, with from left, Cambridge University Association Football Club’s Women’s co-president Alissa Sattentau, Womens treasurer Ella O’Connnell and Men’s treasurer Ross Harrison. Picture: Ben Chattell
Cambridge Zero’s Elizabeth Simpson and Dr Amy Munro-Faure, centre, with the jersey for the 150th anniversary of the Varsity Match, with from left, Cambridge University Association Football Club’s Women’s co-president Alissa Sattentau, Womens treasurer Ella O’Connnell and Men’s treasurer Ross Harrison. Picture: Ben Chattell

The kit has been developed by Swiss-based Appareal, which has a mission to make sustainable clothing from recycled sources. It was co-founded six years ago by Andy Wright, who is studying for a masters in crime and thriller writing at Selwyn College.

He read the college’s sustainability charter and saw an opportunity to expand it through the use of sustainable sports clothing.

Andy said: “Across the sporting industry, you can see a surge of investment in more responsible products to meet corporate strategic commitments, at the demands of stakeholders. If the oldest football club in the world is putting its best foot forward, there’s hope for us all.”

He added that recycling one ton of PET waste saves 3.8 barrels of oil, with 86 per cent less water consumption and 75 per cent less energy consumption than conventional PET manufacturing.

Tickets for the Varsity matches can be bought on the Cambridge United website. The women’s fixture is scheduled to kick off at 5pm, with the men getting under way at 8pm.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More