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ALSCO & Wellington City Council join Textile Reuse Programme

Media Release - 27 June 2017

ALSCO NZ and Wellington City Council join the NZ Textile Reuse Programme

The NZ Textile Reuse Programme is delighted to welcome new partners ALSCO NZ and Wellington City Council to the programme. Stage Two of the Program was initiated with continued collaboration from Fonterra and the new partners as we progress with work on solutions for end of life textiles. Textile specialists The Formary have led the project from inception with the view that it needs to be a collaborative project, inviting prominent New Zealand brands on board to create a step change in how end-of-life clothing is managed.

Clothing and textiles is a large and growing sector, it is estimated that 80 billion pieces of clothing are produced each year (a 400% jump from just 20 years ago), three quarters of which will end up landfilled or incinerated. According to the NZ Retailers Association, New Zealanders are now spending nearly $4 billion on clothing each year, this figure does not include the volume of corporate textiles, estimated to be 40 times greater than that of domestic textiles.

Stage One of the program, completed in 2016, involved an audit of the waste textiles being generated by the participating companies to determine the scale of the problem. Local reprocessing solutions were assessed and a reprocessing model designed with the aim of producing environmental, social and financial benefits for all New Zealanders.

Auckland Council have provided funding for Stage Two – the establishment of a pilot aggregation centre to receive, sort and redistribute the end-of-life garments diverting them from landfill and converting them into feed stock for industry. “If we can divert our clothing and textile waste, which is significant, from landfill and convert it into useable feed stock for industry, we not only reduce the draw on virgin resources but also reduce the environmental impacts of textiles” says Peter Thompson, The Formary CEO. “Synthetics can take hundreds of years to break down in landfill, while clothing dyes and finishes create another issue – it is these sort of legacy issues that the programme partners are highly cognisant of and aiming to address through the programme”.

Mark Roberts, Alsco NZ Group General Manager, explains more: “Alsco has been helping to create clean, healthy workplaces in New Zealand since 1910. As a major user of work wear we have a particular responsibility in reducing the amount of textiles that end up as land-fill. Alsco wants to do whatever we can to help. We have comprehensive environmental and sustainability policies in place and we are always looking at new ways to minimise our impact on the environment. Alsco sees our support of the NZ Textile Reuse Programme initiative as a tangible and collective action to make a real social, environmental and economic difference”.

“We recognize that textile waste is a growing problem in NZ” says Kellie Benner, WCC’s Waste Minimisation Manager “with the amount of textile waste being sent to landfill growing each year.

WCC is excited to start leading by example, through analysing and diverting from landfill our own uniforms, once they’ve reached their end of life. This work fits nicely into our new Waste Minimisation and Management Plan, which includes actions towards minimising textile waste, and WCC’s internal waste minimisation”.

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