Moving away from wasteful packaging
The global apparel industry uses different forms of packaging to allow easy movement, presentation, protection and delivery of goods. The damaging environmental effects of packaging are well publicised and include packaging that is not recyclable, or ends up in landfill where it may not decompose.
At Belgravia Apparel (formerly Bizwear), we set our sustainability platform based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The framework of the SDGs gave us a clear focus, guidelines, and an authority with global credentials to follow. Of the 15 SDGs, we chose 8 to focus on initially, based on what could make the greatest environmental difference.
Degradable bags: tested, proven and ready to go
Apparel Industry Packaging affects two specific SDGs: Goal 14 (Life Below Water) and Goal 15 (Life on Land). ‘Life’ here refers to how long a material lasts before decomposing or not.
With this in mind, we identified 2 areas for improvement: packaging used by our factory partners, and packaging we use to send parcels to our customers.
We found a packing bag that actively decomposes or degrades over time, but we wanted to be sure it was truly better for the environment. Formal testing by a third party laboratory was used to validate the decomposing claims made by the supplier, but we felt a responsibility to do further independent testing.
The evidence from the testing reports was fascinating. The INZWTA soil burial test showed that, after 13 weeks, the bags were so decomposed that they could not complete a tensile strength test – that’s how weak and decomposed the bag was.
We also researched changing the standard parcel satchel we use to deliver uniform orders to our customers. We’ve switched to an PE-LD 04 (low-density polyethylene) satchel bag which can be recycled back into other bags, textile fibres or bottles.
Both these packaging changes will result in an increased packaging cost to Belgravia Apparel, but the benefits of creating a positive environmental impact is a corporate responsibility we embrace – and encourage others to follow.
The full impacts of these changes to our packaging will be seen over the next 3 to 6 months. New stock will arrive from our factories in the new packaging, and we’re starting the use of the new satchel delivery bags immediately.
Here’s to a cleaner, greener future at Belgravia Apparel!