Did you know that almost half of all plastics produced worldwide are created for the packaging industry? According to data from the World Bank, less than 14% of plastic packaging worldwide is recycled, resulting in a whopping 146 million tonnes of containers, wrappers and packets winding up in landfill every year.
The role the fashion industry plays can’t be ignored. From hang tags to garment bags, fashion retail can be plastic-heavy. The growth of e-commerce might have us using fewer plastic shopping bags, but online retail comes with its own set of problems. Happily, there are plenty of start-ups changing the way fashion businesses package and ship their products. Whether you’re an ethical fashion entrepreneur or you’re looking for ways to make your established brand more sustainable, here are 8 services to revolutionise your pack and send workflow.
Perfect for prettifying your products before they ship, Noissue (above) makes sustainable tissue paper, decorative washi tape and stickers. Their online process makes it easy to customise your kit. Everything is produced using soy-based inks and acid-free paper made from FSC Certified wood pulp. Noissue has offices in Sydney, Auckland and around the globe. Proceeds from every order go to supporting their Eco-Packaging Alliance, which funds global reforestation projects.
Based in Mahana on New Zealand’s North Island, ComPlast has pioneered a plastic bag alternative that uses a wholly organic source. Their secret? Starch and resin derived from the roots of the cassava plant, which they source ethically from farmers in Java, Indonesia. Alongside a range of household plastic products (such as bin liners), ComPlast sells garment bags for packaging individual items of clothing and grip-hole shopping bags for retailers. The bags dissolve in water and decompose by 85% in just 90 days – yet they’re scientifically proven to be just as sturdy as their petroleum counterparts.
The Better Packaging Co.
Another Kiwi start-up, The Better Packaging Co. specialises in plastic-free packaging for distribution. Chic courier satchels, bubble bags and courier labels made from compostable cornstarch and other biodegradables break down within 90 days (they recommend burying the bag in your garden to speed-up the process). Better Packaging’s ØPack Range uses waste limestone salvaged from the building industry, which is ground down and turned into a flexible material through a solar-powered, zero-water process. The finished sleeves are 80% calcium carbonate and revert back to their organic components when they’re left out in the sun.
If you prefer the un-boxing effect, Melbourne-based Inke (below) is at the forefront of sustainable cardboard packaging. Brands including Myer and Lululemon are already making use of their services. They also offer solutions for small businesses, including an in-house design team who can help create your dream box.
Inke boxes are made at a family run facility in Melbourne using 100% recyclable cardboard then printed digitally using non-toxic UV inks. The nifty design is self-lockable, eliminating the need for tape or glue.
Fed up with the lack of options available in Australia, industry veteran Calan Stanley decided to found his own sustainable printing studio. Melbourne-based Print Together offers solutions for a wide range of industries, including fashion and retail.
Swingtags, business cards, stationary, catalogues and all kinds of promotional materials are printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper using non-toxic inks. Print Together’s innovative ‘collective green printing process’ (the car-pooling of the printing world) pairs customers with similar needs to reduce energy consumption and waste.
Etiko and Freeset
They consistently top the list as one of Australia’s best ethical fashion brands, but did you know that Etiko also do custom printing? Whether it’s staff t-shirts or reusable tote bags for packing garments, the Fairtrade and B Corp Certified business can make it – from GOTS Certified cotton, no less.
Similarly, Fair Trade Guaranteed Freeset makes customisable tote bags, gift bags and t-shirts from GOTS cotton and jute. Everything is printed and sewn at their workshop in Calcutta, India, which provides jobs and training for survivors of human trafficking.
As Australia’s first carbon neutral delivery service, Sendle is changing the shipping landscape as we know it (they’ve even issued a challenge to Aus Post to offset their emissions). The B Corporation is tailored for small businesses, offering competitive rates on door-to-door shipping. Perks include free pick up, guaranteed delivery, and tracking. Every shipment is offset through Sendle’s partnership with South Pole, a Swiss company that funds emissions reduction and renewable energy projects all over the world.
WORDS: EMILY LUSH MAIN IMAGE: NOISSUE