STEP 5

packaging
& shipping

Tags, Label, Hangers, Hang Tags, Polybags, cartons, all contribute to the waste that comes from this industry. So much plastic is still used for packaging. 

simply-suzette-denim-supply-chain-101-step-5-packaging-shipping-delivering-carbon-footprin

packaging

Polybags are the ubiquitous packaging of the fashion industry – something that unites brands small and large, from sportswear to luxury, to fast fashion retailers. This is the clear plastic bag which covers every garment from manufacturing to retail stores or consumer homes. Hundreds of billions of polybags are estimated to be produced for the fashion industry every year. Brands should consider not only the materials used but consider the wider system used with the packaging – for example, how will it be collected and recovered at all points where waste is generated?

Bioplastics are also a new hot topic. Bioplastics are plastic materials produced from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, straw, woodchips, sawdust, recycled food waste, etc. They can be great if they are also biodegradable, meaning that they can be composted. However if there is no system for composting, the effort is useless, the packaging could end up together with normal plastics and be an issue for the recycling process. It can be confusing to understand that some plastics can be biobased but not compostable, therefore we suggest that you check out a useful diagram made by Ecoage in their article explaining this group of materials. 

Recycling could be increased thanks to government subsidies, legislation, oil price rise, design for recyclability (narrower range of polymers, no coloured plastics), advances in recycling technology and in sorting (optical recognition etc.). Collaboration and cooperation comes back as being the key to achieve a circular economy.

A big thank you to Virginia Rollando for contributing her supply chain expertise!