Sustainable Packaging and the Challenges Within the Fashion Industry
Here at Scarlet Destiny, we have been conducting deep analysis and research into sustainable packaging for our brand, which can raise the question of what traits belong to sustainable packaging – biodegradable, compostable, recyclable, and does it just require one of these or a mix?
Packaging that isn’t sustainable has a very damaging effect on the environment, with plastic bags taking between 15-1000 years to decompose and it takes up to nearly a third of all plastic production with only 14% of this being recycled. Air pollution is another issue, as excess and wasteful packaging involves waste incineration which produces harmful gases that infiltrate the environment such as vinyl chloride, CFCs, and hexane.
Innovations made earlier in the year by supplement brand Ace of Air have provided new ways for brands to package their products. The system involves package borrowing, making it mandatory that customers return their empty packaging in the brand’s reusable shipping boxes where the empties are then sterilised, refilled, and sent back out for a new customer. Replacement fees are in place for cases where customers don’t return the empties, or they are returned in bad condition. However, whilst Ace of Air’s innovation is applaudable, it goes without saying that this form of sustainable packaging, along with many others, can be impractical for small brands due to the price. Covering the cost of cleaning, sterilisation, and pickup adds to the cost of just the packaging alone which is challenging for a brand like ours. Thankfully, there are several brands creating sustainable packaging that consider small brands that we have discovered through our research. A company called Living Packets aims to offer online retailers with tech-enabled, durable, and returnable boxes and is currently working on the product, whilst RePack in Finland provides reusable packing as well as a service designed for rental brands.
Zach Lawless, CEO of reusable wine bottle company Good Goods, has also introduced new ideas for the sustainable industry which started by trying out reusables for grab-and-go foods and stocking vending machines with healthy meals in high quality packaging where customers would pay a deposit which would be given back once their empties were returned. However, the idea was criticised slightly as customers said they felt it was an obligation to return the packaging which they didn’t like. The entrepreneur then altered his idea slightly by reframing the deposit as a reward and altering the packaging to give it a less disposable feel – he then saw an increase in a return rate from 25% to 85%.
Whilst this is all exciting news for sustainable consumers, we are still yet to come across packaging which is suitable for our brand. Lawless has introduced some interesting ideas, however the CEO is more focussed on glass packaging for the time being. We are still exploring our options and searching for sustainable packaging that is accessible for us as a small brand and not of a high cost. Hopefully, we see more ideas such as Zach Lawless’, that can be applied to the fashion industry to provide our customers with luxury yet sustainable packaging.
Do you think the recent innovations will inspire further ideas to contribute to sustainable packaging in the fashion industry?
(information sourced from: couriermedia.com, ribble-pack.co.uk, wasteadvantagemag.com)
Image 1 sourced by: Ralf Vetterle, Pixabay
Image 2 sourced by: Marcell Viragh, Unsplash
Image 3 sourced by: Dan-Christian Paduret, Unsplash