Tackling The Sustainable Packaging Challenge
Our oceans and landfills are filling up with plastic – so isn’t it time our industry re-imagines how we package and ship goods?
Responsible packaging should now be an industry standard, but knowing what that is can be elusive, complex and always evolving.
At last week's Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver, our own Aaron Keller moderated a panel discussion with three industry leaders: Matt Gowar, CEO, Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.; Peter Arlein, CEO, mountainFLOW eco-wax; and Olivia O'Neill, Senior Designer, Krimson Klover around this critically important topic.
They discussed the challenges, best practices and opportunities that re-thinking our packaging presents.
They covered the supply chain and seeing the entire system where a package has an impact on sustainable behaviors. The opportunities with materials were also discussed and being cautious about what is compostable, at either industrial or human scale. And we covered the basic effort of asking the right questions of our suppliers and ourselves, “do we need packaging for this?”
The audience was engaged, and our panelists were deeply passionate about what can be done to improve and move ourselves along the spectrum of sustainable packaging behaviors.
Matt Gowar, representing Rab and Lowe Alpine, shared the following unique perspective, having conducted an 18-month polybag recycling pilot in partnership with the European Outdoor Group:
“We need to use plastic sparingly, to be sure, but plastic is a resource, and needs to be respected for that. It’s good at what it does: protect goods for shipping in a lightweight manner. The outdoor industry needs to keep the plastic polybags we use for shipping inside the B2B environment and not put it out there into the consumer world, where the recycling wheels fall off the truck. Distribution centers need to remove plastic packaging and sell it to local recyclers. When a big retailer like REI imposes a plastic tax on brands, it’s backwards. Polybags are a valuable commodity that need to be respected and repurposed.”
We hope to see you at the next OR event in June and have another discussion about what brands and retailers can do to reduce their packaging impact on our oceans and lands.
Reach out if you’d like to hear more about the discussion.
Kelly Leighton, VP of Client Experience at Capsule