wellington zoo case study


Our clothing is far from inert, recent studies revealing micro fibres from clothing are so prevalent they are now a common contaminant in our drinking water and food sources. Global garment production has hit 100 billion units per annum. Commercial textile and clothing consumption is estimated to be 40 x greater than domestic by volume. The uncontrolled export of our waste clothing has decimated local textile industries resulting in significant social impacts through the closure of local industries, the loss of skilled jobs and produced negative environmental effects from the dumping of unwanted clothing. The issue is so significant that in 2016 a block of East African Governments proposed a ban on the importation of second-hand clothes.

To protect brands corporate clothing is landfilled. A high proportion of corporate clothing is made from synthetic fibres, when assigned to landfill it does not break down and is still going to be there in 100-500 years-time, leaving a long legacy for generations to come.


The Formary worked with Wellington Zoo to sort and record each decommissioned garment – fibre type, current state of the garment and reuse pathway.

Wellington Zoo’s priorities for the decommissioned uniforms were:

  • Diversion from landfill
  • Support local communities
  • Extract the greatest value from the garments

Garments were classified in the following categories:

  • Community reuse as garments
  • Reuse in second generation product
  • Return to supplier (faulty/not fit for purpose)
  • Waste

CARBON CO2e conserved

8,573 kg

WATER H20 conserved

856,000 litres


“Reducing the Zoo’s carbon emissions and impact on the environment is important to our goal of saving animals in the wild. Sustainability is a journey, it never ends, and we’re proud to be leading the way in this area and showcasing our environmentally conscious practices. We hope by sharing our journey with the zoo and aquarium profession and other organisations, we will spark the conversation about what other people can do to reduce their impact on the planet.”

Karen Fifield, CEO, Wellington Zoo