Alsco - four years of helping to clean up NZ’s waterways

1 Apr 2021 by Andy Kenworthy

Since 2017, Alsco has provided more than $100,000 to our programme, supporting community groups and landowners to replant local waterways with native plants and trees. More than 500 of its staff, friends, suppliers, and even customers have taken part in a staggering 17 volunteer planting days around the country. Together, they have planted more than 10,000 native trees.

As specialists in linen, mat, garment, and washroom rental, as well as first aid management, Alsco is a familiar name in business, schools, and facilities all over the country. With more than 100 years of continuous operations in New Zealand, it is a firm with caring at its core and a keen interest in conservation and water management. It’s a perfect foundation partner for the Sustainable Business Network’s (SBN) Million Metres Streams Project.

Alsco’s support also helped enable SBN to secure $2.5 million of investment for its regional partners via the Government’s Jobs for Nature Fund. Administered by the Department of Conservation, this money is providing employment for over 60 individuals over a four to five month period, ending in September 2021. It will generate more than 50,000 hours of conservation work nationwide.

Alaina Pomeroy is Million Metres Project Manager. She says: “Alsco came on board with us at a crucial early moment in our development. That showed real courage and trust in us. The team has a really lovely family atmosphere, and has stuck with us through thick and thin. They’ve been a delight to work with, whether in the office or out by the water with spades in their hands. It’s great to see a dyed-in-the-wool Kiwi company back this work so consistently. We really couldn’t do it without their help.”

Alsco’s relationship with Million Metres is part of a wider sustainability ethos across the whole business. After an extensive sustainability review in 2018 Alsco announced four bold aspirational goals to guide the business through to 2030. They are to

  •  Eliminate coal as an energy source
  • Convert one third of its fleet of 350 vehicles to electric vehicles
  • Reduce water use by one third, with new technologies and efficiencies
  • Generate zero waste to landfill.

Gavin Smith is Alsco’s Business and Product Development Manager. He says: “Alsco operates eight large commercial laundries across New Zealand. We are large user of water and we are very keen to minimise our impact on the environment. We were initially attracted to the Million Metres program because it was ambitious and different. Million Metres offered a tangible and collective way for our teams nationwide to participate in something that is creating a real social, environmental, and long-term difference.

“The planting days are most enjoyable to be involved in. We love seeing kids out with Mums and Dads, and even grandparents and neighbours. Our teams, families, and friends really relate to it, and enjoy the genuine camaraderie of working with others. We get a real buzz out of making a tangible long term environmental impact, plus the positive flow on effects of social goodwill and community pride.

“Alsco thanks Million Metres, and we acknowledge the progress to date. This project fits nicely with our vision to be part of the movement that rolls up its sleeves and gets stuck in to leave the world in a better place for future generations.”