Tuesday, 29 August 2023 08:55

Schools bag carpet plan

Written by  David Anderson
Bremworth chief executive Greg Smith says using synthetic carpet fibre flies in the face of the Government’s commitment to sustainability. Bremworth chief executive Greg Smith says using synthetic carpet fibre flies in the face of the Government’s commitment to sustainability.

Rural schools around NZ are backing a new initiative to help them install wool carpet.

The move follows controversial plans by the Ministry of Education to fit almost $8 million worth of nylon carpet in up to 760 small or rural schools around the country.

NZ carpet company Bremworth will offer a subsidy of at least 30% on the cost of the wool carpet for each school. For a school needing 400sqm of carpet, this would equate to more than $10,000.

The company is also calling on the Government to provide a cash alternative to the synthetic carpet, to further help schools access wool without needing to fundraise.

Meanwhile, some rural school principals are refusing the Ministry of Education offer to install the synthetic carpet at no cost to the schools.

“We are told to teach the kids about sustainability, yet the Government isn’t actually practising what they preach,” says Cheryl Barbara, principal of Rotherham School in North Canterbury.

She says the offer to provide synthetic carpet is inconsistent with the sustainability doctrine the Government wants taught to students and is insulting to the rural sector.

“As a principal of a rural school, I can tell you that it goes against our rural values and is highly offensive to our wider farming community, which has been struggling over the past few years.”

Barbara says rural schools are about supporting their local community.

“I don’t think there would be any rural school in New Zealand that would want to be using plastic carpet, to be honest.”

She says it is heart-warming to see a local company like Bremworth offering to do what they can to help get wool back into schools.

Under the programme, schools that are due to replace their existing flooring can apply to carpet manufacturer Bremworth for a product subsidy equivalent to at least 30% of their flooring needs to help make wool carpet more accessible to New Zealand schools.

Bremworth chief executive Greg Smith says the decision to use synthetic carpet fibre flies in the face of the Government’s commitment to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives.

“Bremworth is doing what it can to help small Kiwi schools like Cheryl’s access New Zealand wool – a high-performing renewable and biodegradable fibre.”

Smith adds that the Ministry needs to amend its current offer to allow schools to take the cash equivalent for the plastic tiles, which they can then put towards wool carpet.

He says any schools wanting to apply for a product subsidy can contact the company: https://bremworth.co.nz/pages/wool-in-education-initiative

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