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Sustainable Partnership Yields No Waste Outcomes

The idea of sleeping on plastic bottles may not sound very inviting or comfortable, but a microfibre filling being used extensively in bedding at Southern Institute of Technology’s student accommodation units, is made from exactly that - 100% recycled plastic bottles - providing warmth and comfort to hundreds of students and assisting in sustainability for the well-being of the planet.

SIT recently received certification from Vendella to acknowledge they’ve been responsible for recycling nearly 87,000 plastic bottles, in a zero-waste process, through their purchasing of Vendella’s recycled PET plastic bedding products.

Timaru based, Vendella is an NZ owned and operated family business, which provides commercial linen to the hospitality, accommodation and care sectors across New Zealand.

As part of their commitment to environmental sustainability, the company started The Dream Green Initiative – its main focus was to source recycled polyester and microfibre for their range of filled bedding products.

Michael Boakes, Business Development Team Leader at Vendella, said, “Around 2015 we started using the recycled PET bottle microfibre and since then, we have sourced all of our filled bedding products utilising this.”

Although the processing of the bottles and manufacturing of the microfibre occurs offshore, usually in Asia, – it requires some high-tech machinery to transform the bottles into bedding material – Mr Boakes says what’s important to them as a company is providing solutions and making sustainability easy, to help other NZ businesses achieve their corporate environmental responsibility goals.

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“This process removes the need to manufacture more virgin polyester and microfibre. The important thing for us as a business is we’re not creating more new plastic, and this is a big deal – there is too much waste produced in NZ – so if we can make a difference, we will do what we can to achieve this.”

SIT uses pillows, duvet inners quilted mattress and pillow protectors and mattress toppers from the Dream Green range in its student accommodation in Invercargill, Queenstown and Telford (Balclutha), and also at their Beauty Therapy rooms.

Paul Watts, SIT Accommodation Manager, says it is rewarding to be involved with Vendella and aligning with their sound sustainability practices through the supply of essential items such as the bedding provided to international students.

Each Dream 900gm pillow purchased contains twenty-eight recycled plastic bottles, and for every eight of these pillows supplied to businesses, as an added extra, Vendella partners with Keep New Zealand Beautiful to fund the planting of an NZ native seedling.

“SIT has been purchasing Welcome (bedding) packs to give to our International students for seven years and over this time, we have purchased over 2,500 pillows, which equates to around 312 NZ native trees being planted,” Mr Watts said.

Through the Dream Green initiative, 3,500 native trees have been planted so far, said Mr Boakes.

“All this wouldn’t be possible without businesses supporting Dream Green through purchasing our microfibre-filled products, so we would like to take this opportunity to thank SIT and all our other customers who are helping to reduce waste within NZ,” he added.

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