What To Do With Graduation Gowns After Graduation?

What to Do with Graduation Gowns After Graduation?

What To Do With Graduation Gowns After Graduation?

So… what are you going to do with your graduation gowns now that they’ve had their time?

Most graduates keep only the tassel from their hat, tossing the cap and gown as soon as the ceremony ends. More than 5 million gowns wind up in landfills every year, adding to the plastic waste stream and causing great harm to the environment.

Ways to Reuse Graduation Gowns

Unfortunately, it will be a while before all caps and gowns are made of eco-friendly or recyclable materials. For those of us who still have PET gowns collecting dust in the back of our closets — or youngsters getting close to graduation day — other sustainable avenues must be found. Though the thin, scratchy material is unsuitable for reuse in keepsake blankets or pillowcases, there are multiple ways to reuse the gowns in their entirety. Consider the following:

  • Pass your regalia down to a younger friend or family member who can use it at a subsequent commencement ceremony.
  • Take it back to your school — they may have a program for assisting low-income students with graduation costs. If they don’t, encourage them to start one.
  • Donate it to a thrift store — you never know when members of the community may be in need of an affordable option for graduation.
  • Offer up caps and gowns to a daycare or preschool for use in dress-up play.
  • Check with your local theaters to see if their costume departments could use the gowns.

    Have an Eco-Friendly Graduation Celebration

    While you’re thinking about the sustainability aspect of graduation, make sure your celebration is as green as possible. Encourage friends and family members to carpool, walk or take public transportation to the graduation venue and your party afterward. Ask for eco-friendly graduation gifts, such as a gift of money, an experience (e.g., concert tickets) or a charitable donation in your name. Use reusable plates, glasses, silverware, and tablecloths, and request that no balloons be purchased for either yourself or the decor.

    Encourage Manufacturers and Schools to Go Green

    As society becomes more aware of the environmental dangers of single-use plastics, we expect that the reduced demand will result in fewer of these environmentally damaging items being manufactured in the future. Perhaps it won’t be too much longer until we see our graduation regalia made of cotton again. Maybe we can even reinstate the practice of renting gowns for the day so they can be reused by the next graduating class.

    Until then, we’ll need to be as creative as possible in our reuse efforts. Let’s keep those gowns out of the landfills!

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