Moonbird's Quest for Plastic Reduction May 22 2018
How do we navigate the tricky issue of plastic use throughout our process and supply chain?
With great difficulty! It's consumed hours of our time and we still don’t feel that we've managed to reach a level where we would like it to be.
Our highest use of plastic is the plastic sleeve that each garment arrives in. This is to keep the garment clean and pristine for the journey and for as long as possible in storage. We've experimented with requesting that our garments arrive with 2, 4 or 6 items per bag but occasionally they still arrive in singles, even though we've requested otherwise. Multiple items per pack make stock-takes harder work and also packing orders for wholesale customers becomes tricky because they mostly expect each item to arrive in an individual bag.
So, where do we start? Well, we've tried biodegradable bags, however there are a few things to consider:
- The bags will only biodegrade if they're in the right conditions, plus they're still made from plastic so will continue to contribute to the microplastics in our environment.
- Customers will only be able to put them in a landfill bin because there is no option to recycle.
- When a biodegradable bag goes into landfill it won’t decompose. The decomposition process requires oxygen, which isn't available once the bag is packed inside a mountain of waste. The bag therefore ends up contributing to the methane production of the landfill site, which in turn contributes to climate change.
- Customers may be unaware that the bag can’t be included with their scrunchable plastic recycling and it will therefore contaminate that load of plastic, preventing it that could be recycled.
- The compostable bags that are made from corn don’t last more than a year before they start to break down and therefore can’t be trusted to protect a garment that may possibly have a shelf life which is longer than that. They also won’t decompose in landfill due to the oxygen requirement for the process rand will again produce methane as part of the cycle.
So, in conclusion, at this point we are still using plastic bags, but we keep every bag that isn’t damaged and we send them back to India to reuse.
Our postage bags are also made from plastic and are sent with a sticker attached telling customers how and where they can recycle them. We're about to trial a new compostable postage bag that has just been launched by Compost-A-Pac an Australian Company that we're super excited about. So watch this space!!