The Miami Heat store is working with a clothing company to turn $100,000 worth of unsold team jerseys into over 7,000 masks for local medical facilities that desperately need the supplies. The partnership is with Refried Apparel, a business that specializes in turning recycled clothing into new products.
"I remembered we were sitting on some former players' jerseys and T-shirts and I thought to myself, 'Let's recycle these into something useful and donate them to those brave folks on the front lines of this pandemic,'" Andy Montero, Vice President of Retail Business & Development for the Miami Heat told the team's website. "We're stuck in our houses, but I'm so happy we are finding ways to help!"
Refried Apparel's process is known as "upcycling" which converts materials into new products that provide better environmental value at less energy expense than recycling. The masks that the company will create are not as effective as surgical-grade ones, but they claim that they're still "appreciated by medical staff, first responders, nursing home staff, and essential business during this critical shortage."
"All of us at Refried Apparel are inspired by the many organizations banding together in the battle against COVID-19, including the Miami Heat, which jumped into action to support local hospitals and first responders," said Mark Litos, Co-Founder of Refried Apparel based out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. "We are proud to be part of the effort to help protect our frontline heroes for their selfless services and great sacrifices."
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after players were testing positive for coronavirus. There is no set date for the league's return.