less packaging, less plastic
Luxury goods have always relied on packaging as an essential part of the product experience, and there’s no doubt that a ritualistic ‘unboxing’ contributes to the dopamine rush that accompanies a new purchase. But of course that moment passes quickly while the packaging remains, for months, years, decades, or even centuries (more on that later), depending on what it’s made of.
With that in mind, last year we took a long hard look at our own packaging to see how we could improve it in three main ways:
1. Eliminating plastic
Whilst plastic is widely recyclable, the sheer scale of its use means that in practice as much as 91% ends up in landfill, where it takes roughly 450 years to biodegrade. We were shocked when we heard this, so our immediate priority was to work towards removing all plastic from our packaging as quickly as possible. This year we’re proud to say that all our underwear boxes are now plastic free, made from FSC certified card, and printed in the UK instead of the Far East, thus eliminating the impact of unnecessary transportation.. We also now produce our packaging in smaller batches to avoid waste. Our next step is to work with our factories to remove plastic further down the chain, whilst still ensuring that we’re protecting garments during handling and shipping. It’s a challenge, certainly, but one that’s worth engaging with in a real way. We’re looking to introduce biodegradable alternatives this year and hope to have an update soon.
2. Minimising our overall use of packaging
E-commerce is an ever-growing sector, with the volume of online purchases increasing each year. A recent report found that global parcel volumes surpassed 131 billion for the first time in 2020, which is equivalent to over 3000 parcels shipped every second.* One of the largest byproducts of this is of course the increased production of packaging . We’re all too familiar with how excessive product packaging can be, even for small items. In a bid to significantly cut down on our own use of packaging, we decided to streamline our total packaging for each order. This involved introducing additional box sizes to avoid shipping items in unnecessarily large containers, and introducing slimline paper wallet envelopes for sending singular items. Of course, protecting the garment in transit is still a major consideration, and a particular issue here in the UK is rain. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but we’re excited to improve all of this further over the course of the coming year.
3. Reusing what we’ve already made
In 2020 we introduced pure cotton laundry bags as an alternative to card packaging, and plastic polybags to protect our garments. These are both practical and reusable, as well as being completely biodegradable. For 2022 we are looking at making these from recycled materials to reduce waste further.
It’s a process of constant improvement and refinement, and we’re excited to be working towards a more sustainable position when it comes to our packaging. Stay tuned for further developments. Here’s to tomorrow.
*Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index 2020