Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board: Extending the life of branded uniforms

The issue

In 2021, Natural Resource Management reform saw the former South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board transition to become the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board.

The re-branding exercise meant that all branded uniform pieces became redundant, as items with government logos cannot be reused by staff or other organisations. 

One staff member's uniforms. Image: Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board

The solution

The Climate Action Committee (CAC), formed to improve the environmental performance of the board’s operations, was tasked with investigating the most sustainable ways to dispose of the old uniforms.

The CAC investigated potential reuse options for old uniform items, using the waste hierarchy as a guide.

Options for reusing the uniforms included: 

  • using them for rags
  • sending them overseas to be used by rangers through the Thin Green Line initiative
  • sending them interstate to be shredded and used in new products
  • passing them on to staff for personal use 
  • removing branding and repurposing them. 

Of these options, the CAC opted to follow the path of repurposing the uniforms into new products. 

To achieve this,  the team from the Adelaide Remakery was brought on board to remove government branding and reinvent each garment.

The outcome

The initiative achieved zero waste to landfill with 503 garments, weighing in at 164 kg, being given a second chance for re-use.

In addition to this, 4 other landscape boards joined forces with the Adelaide Remakery to extend the life of old uniform stocks, and there has been interest from other state and local government agencies to replicate the initiative. 

A staff member's shirt used to create a bag. Image: Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board

What’s next?

A renewed approach to government agency branding could eliminate the need to repurpose uniforms in the future. 

Where there is a need for a fixed brand on a uniform, agencies could consider options that will help to prolong the life of the garments should a re-brand occur.

Some viable alternatives include:

  • microwave treatment to enable thread removal of embroidered logos
  • over-branding, where a new brand is applied over the top of an existing one
  • adhesives that can be released at end of life to remove branding.