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Grundéns goes to great lengths to rid the outdoor and clothing industry of single-use plastics.
Almost every product that is delivered to consumers is first packaged in a plastic bag. Known across all industries as “polybag” only 10% of it ubiquitous, clear plastic bags ever reach recycling centers. And worse, she can even cause problems for recycling systems by blocking machines when sorting improperly.
Americans alone use 100 billion plastic bags every year. And change is slow to come for the clothing industry. There are few brands out there that really don’t have plastic waste despite the number of brands being invested in Non-plastic initiatives increases slowly.
The fashion brand Everlane sends its products in poly bags made from recycled plastic. But the bags are still plastic and difficult to recycle; Photo credit: Sean McCoy.
So, with fishing and the outdoor clothing brand Grundéns announced that it would leave out plastic and Conversion to compostable packaging, Messages carry a weight that may turn the way products are sent upside down.
Grundéns worked with a third party to create a protective bag that consumers can compost – at home. And now it is ready to share this with other brands who also want to do without poly bags.
Grundéns non-poly bags – and more
Grundéns started developing its “eco” packaging in 2019 and was inspired by other sustainable packaging – coffee bags made from a biodegradable material.
“With marine plastic playing an important role in the health of many fisheries around the world, we are leading the way in bringing an alternative to polybags to market,” said David Mellon, CEO of Grundéns, and added : “Sustainability is a journey.”
The new Poly Bags (short for Polythen Bags) from Grundéns are not made of plastic, but of polylactide, a raw material made from corn. (And yes, the bags meet the standards of both the ASTM International Organization and the EU’s BS EN 13432.)
The coolest component is that consumers can compost it at home (which Grundéns tested; the bags were home composted in less than a year). Grundéns manufactures the packaging in six different sizes to ensure that only minimal packaging is used depending on the shipping size.
And it will be switched over immediately and the new packaging will be used for orders that will be placed as early as spring 2021.
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Outdoor industry and plastics: a growing trend?
Grundéns has teamed up with a China-based third party company to produce and deliver the bags and says it will share the technology with other companies. “We created this open source solution – the packaging supplier is printed on the back of every eco-bag,” said Ashley Williams, VP of Marketing at Grundéns. “The more brands adopt this type of packaging, the better.”
Grundéns’ plan to take a stand against plastic and share it with others is reminiscent of another brand’s sustainability movement. In 2010, prAna started throwing plastic away, using paper and string in its packaging (and officially banning all plastic from that year). Other brands like Burton, Kokatat and Smartwool have also taken over the Responsible Packaging Movement from prAna.
A plastic bag; Photo credit: Sean McCoy.
However, many brands have been slow to abandon poly bags. Drop-to-consumer shipping and global trade pose risks to many products in transit, and few other materials have proven reliable in protecting goods. A very promising development is therefore a new type of bag that will return to a natural state in a few years, even with home composting.
Another sustainable change that we noticed in companies? Smaller brands like Capricorn, Kits and Allbirds have switched from plastic hang tags to reusable metal lightbulb sticks. Some of these brands even point out that they are buying credits to make clothing or equipment deliveries Carbon neutral.
The trend is clear: brands are gradually reducing their reliance on single-use plastic. Consumers can use their purchasing power to drive this change if they so choose.
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