How can supply chain operatives change the packaging game to become more sustainable? What are the alternatives to traditional plastic use, and does the legislation go far enough?
When it comes to plastic pollution in the fashion industry, packaging is a big culprit. Not only is there packaging attached to the garment itself, but in an age of online shopping, there’s additional packaging used to send those garments to consumers. Sustainability organisation, Ellen MacArthur Foundation says plastic packaging is estimated to make up 26% of the total volume of plastics created in a year, and 72% of this is thrown away.
Innovative companies are now using fully recyclable mailing bags and encouraging consumers to return them by offering a discounted rate on their next purchase.
On a consumer level, it’s possible to reduce the effect that packaging has on the world by reusing and recycling. Currently only 9% of plastic is recycled, whilst the rest is incinerated.
When it comes to producing eco-friendly packaging, the best place to start is at the beginning. Instead of finding ways to reduce or repurpose packaging already in existence, why not change the way that packaging is sourced? Plastic and cardboard both cause huge amounts of damage to the environment through current sourcing methods. However, new technological developments offer opportunities to source in an ethical manner. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five bin bags full of rubbish on every foot of coastline around the world.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide. FSC enables businesses and consumers to make informed choices about the forest products they buy.
In order to gain the level of transparency required for sustainable and ethical sourcing, there must be recognition at CEO level, and a real drive throughout the whole business to work towards these discovery goals. Impacts and measures need to be reviewed and accepted in every process, and responsibility taken in achieving the standards required.
The crucial thing, as with all supply chain issues, is it will be ultimately reliant on the declaration of the plastic manufacturers in the short term. By using a platform like Segura retailers can have visibility of the entire plastic supply chain, capturing the relevant data, and be confident that they are sourcing from responsible suppliers. Segura’s software solution can validate where your manufacturers are sourcing their plastic materials and also capture what proportions are recycled.