With this month being Plastic Free July, it highlights the importance that we need to reduce the use of plastic globally to protect the environment. There are many ways we can do this collectively and business owners may not be aware of the small ways that they can cut out unnecessary plastics and play their part.
Nick Fletcher, founder of sustainable British men’s clothing brand, Absolutely Bear (https://www.absolutelybear.com/), has provided his tips on how to make more sustainable packaging choices for your business.
The brand has made the most important packaging advancements which are cutting out plastic from the packaging process by using brown paper mailing bags made from sustainable materials that are plant-based, plastic-free and 100% recyclable, reusable and compostable. Alongside this, the garment bags themselves are ‘Leave No Trace’ bags, that are not only biodegradable and water-soluble, but break down harmlessly to non-toxic biomass in soil and sea. On top of being sustainable, it is also a member of the global 1% For The Planet movement and gives 1% of its gross annual earnings to environmental non-profits to create a healthier planet and a more sustainable future.
This is something many businesses, especially in the fashion industry can adapt to, here are Nick’s other tips for reducing plastic use in businesses.
- Substitute plastic for string
This change is effortless and affordable. String is significantly more environmentally friendly than little plastic clips and tags and many would agree it looks better too.
Nick explains: “We have been using plain old string for a while now to attach our swing tags to our clothing and have got rid of the little plastic clips that are the industry norm. Who needs them? And let’s face it, string looks much better anyway.”
- Make the switch to organic cotton
Organic cotton is not only more sustainable than regular cotton but it also comes with many hidden benefits.
Nick explains that: “Conventional cotton is one of the most widely grown crops in the world and one of the most chemical-intensive. These highly toxic chemicals have a tremendous impact on the Earth’s air, water, soil, and the health of people in cotton-growing areas. In contrast, organic cotton is grown without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides or defoliants, using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. It also uses a staggering 91% less water than conventional cotton, which usually comes from rainwater rather than irrigation. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton is of a higher quality than standard cotton, so not only is it more durable and will last longer, but it is also softer and kinder to the skin. It is also kinder on the people who produce it.”
- Join the Fair Wear Foundation
The Fair Wear Foundation supports workers in the garment industry, ensuring they know their rights and are working in safe conditions as well as receiving a legal working wage.
Nick explains: “We think the fashion industry has for too long acted without proper care and consideration for the awesome people who go to work every day to make our clothes and so an organisation that works to protect and promote the rights of garment workers around the world takes on legendary status for us. The basis of the collaboration between Fair Wear and its members is the Code of Labour Practices. The core of this code is made up of eight labour standards derived from the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights. They include no discrimination in employment, no exploitation of child labour, payment of a living wage and safe and healthy working conditions.”
Any way you can reduce plastic is a step further to creating an eco-friendly business that the environment needs. Transitioning over to a fully plastic-free business doesn’t happen overnight, but making many small changes will make a big difference in the long run.