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Posted on Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Eastern Michigan University grads to don gowns made from recycled plastic bottles

By Kellie Woodhouse

Eastern Michigan University students will give a whole new meaning to "Go Green!" as they walk across the graduation stage in December.


This photo provided by Eastern Michigan University shows the graduation gowns being used by Eastern Michigan University at its Dec. 16 commencement. Those wearing the gowns are Kevin McKay of Wayne, left, campus bookstore manager; and students Brianna Fassezke, center, of Mason; and Dawn Turchin of West Bloomfield. McKay is wearing a doctoral robe, Fassezke a master's gown and Turchin a green undergraduate gown.

AP Photo/Eastern Michigan University, Randy Mascharka

Students who graduate this winter will wear green gowns fashioned out of 23 recycled plastic bottles.

According to EMU, 2,000 students are eligible to walk across the stage in an upcoming Dec. 16 ceremony at EMU’s Convocation Center.

Don't worry, the gowns don't crinkle like they're made from ... plastic bottles. The fabric, according to an EMU release, "feels like soft polyester."

And it's not just the fabric that's environmentally friendly: even the tack that fastens a button to the graduation caps is made from recycled metal.

Only the tassel and the gown’s zipper can’t be recycled.

EMU first debuted environmentally friendly regalia for the April 2011 commencement. This year undergraduates, who were formerly clad in black, will walk down the aisle in dark green caps and robes. The gowns are available at the EMU campus bookstore.

Virginia-based manufacturer Oak Hall distributes the gowns. For every 1,000 students who walk in the recycled regalia, Oak Hall estimates that 23,000 plastic bottles are kept from landfills.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

I believe that the Coolmax type shirts that I like to wear, as well as the fleece products that we all buy , in fact, are made from recycled milk bottles. They wear like iron, and wick sweat without themselves becoming wet.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

I am all for recycling, but I would think these gowns made of recycled plastic would be very hot and clammy in warm, humid weather.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 2:03 a.m. made two days in a row. Yay! This and that article about the Huron pool yesterday.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

So it takes 23 plastic bottles to make one gown? And what happens with this gown? Can you now recycle this gown and if so how?

Blazingly Busy

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Oh, sorry, the EMU logo wasn't on my gown.


Wed, Nov 14, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.


Blazingly Busy

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

I graduated in April with one of these gowns. This isn't new.


Tue, Nov 13, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

Cool idea!