With the world slowly returning back to normal some people are running out of their homes and into the nearest malls. While many missed the in person shopping experience, some of us will still choose to go online and do our shopping there. The famous unboxing of the 21st century is still trending as brands like Shein have made it easy to buy 30 items to unbox for a very affordable price. As exciting as getting a package is, what’s not so exciting is the three layers of plastic that your single shirt is wrapped in. With a call from consumers on brands to be more sustainable, packaging is the perfect place to start.
Although online shopping often seems like the most convenient way to shop, the behind the scenes tell a different story. In the US over 165 billion packages are shipped every year, and the cardboard used in this process is equivalent to more than 1 billion trees. And this only accounts for the packaging boxes, we still have to consider the contents inside which often include excessive plastic use.
The most obvious solution would be for brands to just eliminate the excess packaging. 87% of consumers agree that online retailers should limit the amount of plastic packaging they are using so why is it still happening? The simple answer is profit. Although there are plastic free alternatives, they are often more costly and would require time and effort to choose and find one. Brands will also claim that they are doing their part by using packaging that can be recycled but the reality is that this is not a solution as plastic is not always guaranteed to be recycled. Less than 2% of plastic waste produced since the 1950’s has been recycled so this is clearly not a substantial solution for the waste issue.
Startup brand Limeloop is trying to tackle the issue head on with their reusable packaging. The company wants to kick disposable shipping to the curb by replacing it with reusable shippers that can be reused for up to 10 years. The Shipper is made out of recycled billboard vinyl that has been upcycled from used billboards, and it is lightweight and waterproof. Businesses can invest in the company by packing all of their orders in the shipper and then the customer is provided with a prepaid return label where they send the shipper back to be reused. Individuals can also purchase the shipper and use it however they like.
Global apparel company PHV, owners of Calvin Klein have made a commitment that by 2025 all of your packaging will 100% be made out of sustainable and ethically sourced materials. They might even beat their goal before their announced date, right now 74% of CK packaging is recyclable. Additionally, they have also switched to a thinner material to package their clothing and the result is over 200 tons of plastic being saved from the landfill. Finally, PHV is the first fashion company to join the How2Recycle initiative which is a labelling system that helps educate consumers on waste management.
Even luxury brands have hopped on the bandwagon. Burberry has partnered with a manufacturing company to come up with a box that is both sustainable and luxurious. Their paper packaging is made out of recycled coffee cups, giving a second life to more than 58 million cups since their launch. Their packaging is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and can easily be recycled or reused. This is the first step towards their goal of going completely plastic free by 2025.
With over 800 brands in their online store, Asos is one of the largest e-commerce brands of the fashion industry. Lately the brand has put a large focus into sustainable efforts in a goal to reduce their carbon footprint. Like CK the brand has switched over to a thinner material for packaging which has reduced their yearly plastic waste by over 583 tons. Their pags also feature a label telling consumers how to recycle these bags so that they can be reused.
Often applauded for her approach to sustainability in the fashion industry, Stella McCartney is also making strides when it comes to packaging. The brand uses a bio-based, compostable and sustainable packaging manufacturer called TIPA. The packaging is a response to the waste in both the fashion and food industry, and it mimics plastic packaging. One of the main concerns for eliminating plastic in garment shipping is that the products could be damaged without that safety layer, therefore what TIPA offers is the perfect solution that addresses this issue without compromising sustainable values.
Sustainability is currently trending and brands have quickly realized that this is the time to make commitments to change their ways. Right now more than 40% of global consumers are purpose driven meaning that they will put their values at the forefront of their purchases. And although it is a common misconception that consumers aren’t willing to shift their ways if it means a higher price tag, over 70% of consumers would pay up to 35% more for eco-friendly brands. If this is what consumers really want then brands have no choice but to change their ways if they want to remain relevant. Many brands have taken the route of creating sustainable goals that will be achieved within a certain time frame so that consumers can see the efforts and how they are working towards these goals daily.
Nobody expects these brands to become sustainable overnight. Although it takes time and effort, the results are better for everyone: the brand, the consumer, and the earth. Starting small with things like packaging is an easy fix and it gets the ball rolling into a more sustainable future!
Via ÀLA.HAUSSE‘s Multi-functional and Multi-purposeful Fashion Ecosystem- BUY/SELL/RENT/LEND/ (swap BETA 2021) mobile application, INDIVIDUALS & brands (BETA 2021) are encouraged to REBUY, RESELL, REUSE and UP-CYCLE their personal “Closets” aka Clothing Assets, along with overstock inventory and samples. Through this consumerism habit shift we indirectly slow down the urgency on fashion’s carbon footprint, aiding sustainability as a whole.
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