Making Face Coverings from Rescued T-shirts

Sign Shop makes face coverings for UT

A collaboration between the Office of Sustainability, Custodial Services, and Project Management and Construction Services (PMCS) has turned 400 pounds of “trash” into very important treasure: face coverings for employees who needed to continue to work on campus.

“During a Facilities, Planning and Management leadership meeting, we were discussing the need for more masks for our campus staff. Students working on Trash to Treasure collect enormous amounts of clothing during Move Out and through other means, that could be re-purposed into face coverings using a pattern for a no-sew mask from the CDC website,” says Jim Walker, Director of Sustainability.  “It turned into a wonderful bit of teamwork that cost the university essentially nothing since the t-shirts were stored and ready to use.”

Walker brought over 400 pounds of t-shirts to Richard Charbel, Building Services Supervisor in Custodial Services, and colleagues for cleaning. From there, staff from a few of the PMCS shops took over. Tollan Neagley, a supervisor in the Sign Shop, coordinated a small crew that got to work with scissors and measuring tapes.

The result: almost 1,000 reusable face coverings distributed to staff during the COVID-19 crisis.   

“The Custodial employees I have been in contact with were extremely grateful and touched that their peers would do this!” says Charbel. “The face coverings help keep the surgical mask underneath clean and offer an extra layer of protection.”

“We are so pleased that our project be put to use so quickly to help staff stay safe,” adds Abbey Lehr, one of the student leaders for the Campus Environmental Center’s Trash to Treasure project.

Click on the photo below to see our Flickr album of mask-making photos:

Making Masks for UT Employees

Written by Kristin Phillips, Communications Coordinator in the Office of Sustainability