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How Reducing Packaging Can Have a Big Impact

3-minute read

Packaging has a big impact—an incredible 47 percent of total plastic waste in Canada comes from packaging. If everything we buy comes in packaging, and most of it is destined for the landfill, how can we make an impact?

Last year we flagged this as an issue and vowed to do better—to reduce our packaging footprint by 25% to be exact—in our 2019 Sustainability Goals.

Here’s how we’ve been rethinking our product packaging this past year:

1. Eliminated shipping products in single-use plastic.

Typically, for protection during freight shipping, every apparel item comes wrapped and sealed in plastic. Plastic is popular because it’s lightweight and cheap to produce. But its end-of-life footprint is abysmal. Overall, only 9% of plastic in Canada is recycled after use, according to Deloitte’s study, which estimated that 3,268 kilotonnes of plastics were discarded as waste in 2016.

While we’ve already been shipping the majority of our products in dust bags from the beginning, in 2019 we eliminated plastic for 100% of our products shipped!

2. Reduced our packaging footprint by 25%.

By switching to a mailer box made with a handle we eliminated the need for a plastic mailer for online shoe and accessory orders and a shopping bag for in-store purchases for our most common box sizes. Our boxes remain made from FSC certified recycled paper!

poppy barley FSC certified recycled paper packaging

3. Switched to a compostable mailer.

For the box sizes that still require a mailer, we switched to a bio-based (made from plants) compostable mailer. These “Real Dirt Bags” from Better Packaging can be put out with your garden clippings instead of (reluctantly on your part) added to the garbage!

4. Swapped our paper shopping bags for reusable bamboo totes.

Renewable and easy to grow, bamboo is an eco-friendly material that’s fast-growing, requires zero pesticides little water. Incredibly, bamboo can grow up to 98 inches in just 24 hours.

poppy barley bamboo tote bag

What’s Next?

Of course, we believe in progress, not perfection. Here’s what we’re looking to tackle in 2020:

  1. Reduce the stuffing in our shoes. To protect our shoes during shipping we stuff them with paper and sometimes foam. Can we find a better way, or better material to do this?
  2. Eliminate a mailer and shopping bag for most box sizes. Reducing is a clear win.
  3. Investigate and implement more sustainable for dust bags and shopping bags. Bamboo is an eco-plant but transforming the fibre into cloth requires a lot of chemicals. We think we can find an even better option—and would love to hear your ideas!

Thanks for joining us on our journey to rethinking every step of the footwear industry.

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