"According to the Ocean Conservancy, in less than 10 years, scientists predict there will be 250 million metric tons in the ocean and by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish" (Independent). You may hear about our global plastic epidemic on a daily basis, but do you actually know what you can do about it beyond carrying around metal straw? Sustainable business can feel a lot more overwhelming since the consumer side of the conversation is more common, but that doesn't mean that sustainable business solutions don't exist. To make it easy, we've put together a sustainable fashion brand checklist for you to be plastic free in 2020.
1 | Switch to Sustainable Packaging
Packaging is a necessary step for eCommerce. Burberry introduced sustainable packaging- made from partly recycled coffee cups in 2019. "They’ve created paper packaging using FSC certified virgin pulp and fiber from recycled coffee cups in partnership with CupCycling. According to Burberry, they’ve upcycled over 11 million cups". (WWD). You can find a great deal of recycled and compostable options with ECOENCLOSE.
2 | Upgrade to Paper Fiberboard Hangers
Most plastic hangers are not recycled in retail stores, making it approximately 20 billion hangers a year going to waste. Plastic hangers are cheap but "it won’t break down until the year 3000". HANGD is producing a recyclable hanger alternative made from paper fiberboard. It is non-toxic and can be recycled just as your cardboard boxes would.
3 | Opt for Recycled Hang Tags
Changing the price tags as recycled material could be easiest and fastest way to go Plastic Free. "1.1 tons of waste paper to produce a ton of 100% recycled paper". In addition, a third less energy requires to produce recycled Kraft pulp. (greenerprinter). Notice too how twine is used to hang the tags and not plastic, not only does this reduce your plastic but it makes your product look higher quality.
4 | Consider Hemp Fiber Clothing
Manufacturing clothing from plant fiber is also a great way to go plastic free, like cotton, hemp, bamboo, sisal, jute, and so on. Hemp has a reputation for being hippie, but in fact it is is soft, durable, and sustainable. Hemp uses half the amount of water that cotton uses, it pours nutrients back into the soil, and is actually CO2 negative fiber, meaning growing hemp actually reduces the carbon emissions in the atmosphere. (HOODLAMB)
5 | Opt for Bamboo Fiber
Bamboo is a great resource because, much like it's cotton cousin, it's a super versatile fibre and can be used in a myriad of ways from clothing and home decoration to handbags and even jewelry. But unlike cotton, Bamboo is naturally sustainable requiring less water for growth, zero pesticides, and it self-regenerates so it requires no labor to replant it again. Bamboo fabric all provides natural UV protection and antibacterial properties and is soft enough for sensitive skin and baby.
6 | Order Liquid Products in Bulk
For your office cleaning needs order your liquid soaps and cleaners in bulk sizing and refill the bottles to reduce your plastic bottle orders. One step further would be switching to bar soaps which are completely plastic free. Also, by ordering from natural focused companies like Grove Collaborative, you'll find more brands supporting this mission making your shopping easier.
7 | Go Back to Dishes
Stop ordering disposable kitchen supplies and offer mugs, flatware, and dishes that can be washed and reused. Plus, to get extra buy in from your team, create a creative incentive for the lowest waste person on a regular basis. Make it fun to drop plastic from the office!
8 | Recycle Your Fabric Scraps
Imagine all your little scraps of fabric from production accumulated into one big pile. Now multiply that by all the other brands in the world. That's a v big pile! Begin by participating in programs like FABSCRAP to collect and recycle your fabric scraps, talk to your factory about getting them on board, and if for some reason there aren't participating programs in your area, you can always collect all your scraps on your own and drop them off at your local H&M store, every location has a fabric recycling bin by the cash register.
9 | Source Deadstock Fabric
Produce new fiber requires tons of water, chemicals, and materials, when in reality there's millions of yards of unused fabric already waiting to be used. You can source deadstock fabric from THR3EFOLD's Deadstock District community as well as Queen of Raw to get started.
10 | Hold a Plastic Free Competition
Talk about making plastic free fun, hosting a plastic free competition can really engage your team. Be inspired by the global movement Plastic Free July and run your own competition with some fun cash money up for grabs for the winner!
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