Sustainable packaging

I could use some help with this. Pia writes among other things (snipped):

This is Pia the woman you sent the book to in Norway. What I am most interested in is in the contamination that the packaging and distribution of goods involve. All of us deliver the clothes in plastics, some even with plastic hangers! and as soon as the garments come into the shops, the shop managers rip off the plastic and throw away the hangers because they probably have their own. What happens with all that plastic???

I have been researching on the use of either oxo-biodegradable plastics or bio plastics (from corn starch) for packaging my goods. I have read about both and there are advantages and disadvantages on both. I’m am more in favour of using the biodegradable plastic but I’m a bit insecure. Some of the information i have collected state that the additive they use to make the plastic easier to degrade is very contaminating, but some other reports completely deny this information.

As I said, I could use some help with this. I’ve collected resources on the topic with a mind towards becoming more knowledgeable but I know some of you are further along on this path. These are the resources I have:


Forum (not all, just the threads labeled such):

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  1. esther says:

    What about plastic recyclers? If the goal is to divert waste from the landfill and reduce oil consumption, maybe we can reuse what already exists? What about hanger resellers?

  2. Big Irv says:

    I have one client based in Montreal with 200 stores across Canada. As a CMT contractor to them,we are responsible to ship all the goods we make on hangers to them on rolling racks and use specific hangers for specific styles. They appoint a hanger supplier and virtually every hanger we buy and charge back the client is recycled. So I guess you can say the hangers are rented.

    We are taking steps to reduce individual polysleeves and are aiming for one large bag to protect the 8″ increments of goods on the rack, reducing on plastic useage when shipping to their DC. We are still testing different thicknesses of plastic .

    Most other clients will accept used cardboard boxes if the they are in good shape. A good condition used box can save a customer money too. Figure $0.50-$0.75 used versus $ 2.00-$ 2.50 for new.

  3. I am very interested in improving my packaging as well. My current process is to wrap about 6 garments with 100% recycled kraft tissue paper from Uline. So far I have not had any issues with water or other damage, but I do worry about it. I either use a logo sticker to hold things together or tie them up with hemp twine with my hang tag. I am also on the call list with our local recycling center for free good condition boxes. When I start doing larger orders I may look into to help me develop a larger scale program. I find it hard to balance sustainability with looking professional. For example, my Fall line includes dresses – how can I package and ship them in a way so the retailers are not annoyed with creases and wrinkles? I will be ordering the ditto hangers for retailers that would like me to provide hangers. I have a meeting with Whole Foods Market and I just read in Eco Textile News that they have been having incredible sell-through rates with clothing that uses recycled paper hangers.

  4. Laura C says:

    This is something I’m very interested in improving as well. I go back and forth between using plastic or not and if not then how to protect the merchandise in the box. I am glad to hear that April has had a good experience with using paper.

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