New Zealand Perspectives

This week we went on visits to Rembrandt Garment Tailoring, Earthlink and the Hutt Valley Waste Management Centre.

At Rembrandt, it was fascinating to see the tailoring process and that a New Zealand company is still keeping these services in the country. It was also great to get an insight into how detailed the process is to construct a fine tailored garment. There can be over 200 pieces to a suit jacket and trouser — with over 7 pieces just to the horsehair chest pad. The amount of detail and effort that goes into creating the form and shape of the suit jacket is incredible — first with constructing the chest pad that goes inside the jacket, then by shaping the shoulders and chest using three industrial presses. All to influence how the form influences the male figure and shape — giving them an impression of strength.

Earthlink are an amazing company who do a wide variety of things to recycle, reuse and repurpose discarded waste. They also offer employment and community support for people who are being assimilated back into the community from prison facilities etc. They work with textiles waste, mechanical and appliance waste and discarded household goods — either breaking them down into their components to be repurposed or repairing to be reused. One service in particular I was really impressed with was the curtain up-cycling for low socio economic households. Furnishing a new house can be really expensive, especially with curtains for every room.

100% Merino baby clothing made by Earthlink from discarded corporate textile waste.
Recycled curtains ready to be up-cycled and delivered to families in need.

The visit to Waste Management Centre was interesting to see the scale of waste management in the Wellington region and have more of an understanding about the recycling process. In reality the amount of recycling that passes through this plant is rather minor compared to larger regions and countries, however I was still impressed at the mass amount of plastics that passes through on a daily basis. There are approximately 17,000 bottles that can be packed into one bail — 63 of these bails are processed by the plant each day. I was also really interested in how much of recycled waste is repurposed and by what industries, for example, a portion of the recycled glass is processed by an Auckland company to be incorporated into tar seal mix to strengthen roads. Another terrifying fact is that the Wellington region drinks four times more fizzy drink than milk.

Plastic bottles before sorting at the Waste Management Centre
Plastic bottles after sorting and contained in bails. Approximately 63 of these bails are processed each day.