Not so long ago, packaging was the villain du jour for environmentalists – the pet hate of sustainability-minded folks rightly concerned about excessive wastage and non-degradable products filling up landfills and toxifying the Earth in the process.
Somewhere along the way, though, packaging fell behind in our priorities as other problems came to light: with greater supply chain transparency comes a greater understanding of the issues effecting us and our home planet. (Yes, with great power comes great responsibility.) We know more about emissions and fuel consumption and even the materials which make it into the products we wear. In short: there’s a whole lot going on.
But packaging hasn’t gone anywhere: yes, the supermarket plastic bag took a hit – but that’s just a small part of the problem. The grocery store absolutely was not the Final Boss in a world where amazon is still sending a pack of batteries in a box the size of a casket.
All of this, then, leads us to a new effort from Levi’s – a brand who haven’t forgotten (or who have at the very least now remembered) about the problem of packaging.
In a post to the American denim label’s website, the brand notes that the industry is “facing an opportunity to better serve people and the planet for future generations.” It’s a positive phrasing: one that suggests solution and change, rather than insurmountable problems.
It’s also wording that suggests accountability. Accountability – the brand traditionally uses plastic bags to protect apparel during transit and in the factory environment – which has led to a partnership with Fashion For Good and a switch to home-compostable polybags.
Explaining the move, which – at this point – is a pilot scheme running in Sri Lanka and the U.S., the statements further explains that the polybags “include 23-25% bio-based material to lessen fossil fuel consumption and are tested to compost in home and/or municipal composting environments.”
It isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s a stepping stone; something that Levi’s acknowledges. The partnership, which uses bags created by packaging innovators TIPA Corp., is a move closer toward the brand ‘s goal of “eliminating single-use plastic in consumer-facing packaging by 2030 by shifting to 100% reusable, recyclable or home-compostable plastics.”
After all, no one’s saying that packaging-free postage is the answer: no one wants their jeans arriving dirty – and, honestly, that’s going to end up in more returns and more miles with an overall higher impact. The decision to shift away from plastics, albeit a little bit at a time, makes a whole lot more sense and – overall – is going to end up doing a whole lot lot more good.
Altogether, folks: “Progress Over Perfection.”