Helping Business

Otago Polytechnic is meeting the growing need for a new approach towards business, farming and industry practices.

OP’s Centre for Sustainable Practice is building a nationwide hub for business, industry groups and government agencies, which will allow us to share our knowledge and collaborate with others so that they develop their capability to practice sustainably. We hope that our leadership will encourage others to embrace sustainable practices.


Preens – making dry cleaning more environmentally friendly

Emmellee Rose, an Otago Polytechnic Master of Design Enterprise student, worked closely with Preens Dry Cleaners, to make customers aware about all the good practices they have in place.

As part of her thesis, she developed a model measuring sustainability in small to medium-sized businesses – a service which she hopes to offer to businesses in Dunedin and its wider area.

To demonstrate Preens commitment to becoming as sustainable as possible, Emmellee helped create an idea for a sticker, which would be placed on the front of Continuous Cloth Towel dispensers. The sticker would tell the story of why using a Continuous Towel is more environmentally friendly than paper towels and more hygienic than hot air drying.

For Preens retail dry-cleaning, she worked on an idea to create Swing Tag/Display cards designs to encourage customers to return their hangers. Other tags would inform customers about Green Earth, which is a pure liquid-silicone based dry cleaning product. Brochures, posters, rack cards and screen shots were created for the LCD screens in their stores were developed.

Emmellee prepared Preen’s entry in the Westpac Otago Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards - where the company won the sustainability award. These developments are being rolled out into the stores over the next six months.

One Systema – biodegradable paper for colour-treating hair

OP’s commercial design studio, workSpace, worked closely with Amanda Buckingham to create a sustainable alternative to aluminium foil for hair colour treatment.

Amanda, who runs the ScottBase hair salon in Dunedin, came up with the idea for this product, one day, when she was making her children’s lunches. Alarmed at the amount of foil thrown out in her hair salon, alone, She wondered if a product like baking paper could be used in lieu of aluminium foil when colour-treating hair. Amanda approached workspace to help her create a sustainable alternative.

The resulting product, One Systema, is a biodegradable paper made from rock waste, a by-product from the mining and construction industry. This product’s manufacturing process has low carbon emissions, does not produce any toxic waste, and requires no tree felling or water use. Imbued with a special moisturising coating, the paper enhances the uptake of dye and improves hair health.

Amanda developed One Systema in tandem with Future by Design Director, Dr Maggie Lawton. Amanda’s company Pepa Products is poised for international distribution with global hair giant Davines. Given that an average hair salon uses 1.5 kilometres of aluminium foil a month, a product like One System will significantly reduce foil waste in landfill.

Read an ODT article about One Systema.