News | 10 July 2017

Council giving shirt off its back to save the planet

Wellington City Council is proud to announce a new partnership with Council grant recipient The Formary, which will see staff uniforms diverted from the rubbish heap and transformed into reusable fabrics, textiles, and feedstock.

The Formary logo

It’s estimated that there has been a 400% increase in the production of clothing in the world over the past two decades, approximately 80 billion pieces of clothing with three quarters eventually ending up in landfills or incinerated according to The Formary CEO, Peter Thompson.

“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,” he says.

“Wellington City Council has been a supporter of The Formary through their grants funding already, so it’s a nice synergy to have them come aboard as a partner of the programme determined to make more of a positive impact on the world.”

Wellington City Council Waste Minimisation funding contributed to the initial phase of the New Zealand Textile Reuse Programme. Led by New Zealand Post and completed in 2016, Stage One involved an audit of the waste textiles being generated by the participating companies to determine the scale of the problem.

Sustainability Portfolio Lead, Councillor Iona Pannett, is an avid supporter of The Formary and an advocate for the new partnership with organisations including Fonterra and ALSCO.

“There are multiple benefits from such a partnership programme including environmental, economical, and social elements,” she says. “Many of our Council teams wear a uniform every day, like the Local Hosts and Traffic Wardens, and these garments all have an expiry date. With this exciting initiative, we will reduce materials going to Landfill – and give them a new life, which doesn’t cost the earth.”

Find out more about the Waste Minimisation Seed Fund or apply on our funding page at