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Aquapak brand survey: Majority of fashion industry leaders claim to have implemented “sustainable” packaging

#Aquapak brand survey: Majority of fashion industry leaders claim to have implemented “sustainable” packaging

13 Mar 2024 — A survey of board directors and senior executives of fashion brands and retailers in the UK, US and Australia reveals that most (83%) have implemented new forms of environmentally sustainable packaging.

The report was released by polymer-based material technologies supplier Aquapak Polymers and titled, “The Future of Packaging in the Fashion Industry — embracing the sustainability trend.”

The survey findings were published as London Fashion Week drew to a close with environmental sustainability initiatives at the front of the agenda over its five-day exhibition.

When asked how they would rate their company’s focus on using sustainable packaging at present, 45% of fashion executives claim they only use sustainable materials, while 38% disclose they have “started to use them but there’s room for improvement.”

However, 14% imply there is “little” focus in their business on integrating green packaging, while 3% say this simply isn’t a priority.

“Our study shows that sustainable packaging is on the boardroom agenda of fashion brands and retailers,” Mark Lapping, CEO of Aquapak.

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Fourteen percent of surveyed companies imply there is “little” focus on integrating green packaging, while 3% say this simply isn’t a priority.“They are already exploring different types of materials to replace plastic, with a shift to paperboard and new polymers which provide garment and merchandise protection, but do not have any of the environmental problems associated with conventional plastic.”

Green materials usage
When asked about sustainable materials used to date, two-thirds indicate they have been using bioplastics — plastic materials produced from renewable biomass sources such as starch, oils, wood chips and sawdust.

Over half (57%) said that they are using paperboard, 52% cited multi-material combinations such as paper and plastic, and 48% said they were using new polymers which offer the same properties as plastic, but without harming the environment.

When asked how good they think their company’s use of sustainable packaging will be in three years’ time, only 15% anticipate “excellent,” 76% say “good” and 9% think it would be “average.”

The research found that paperboard is the material 71% fashion brands and retailers are most likely to use instead of plastic over the next three years, followed by new polymers (69%) then multi-material solutions (57%).

Dissolvable garment bags
To help reduce plastic packaging pollution, Aquapak has developed Hydropol, a unique polymer it says is soluble and non-toxic to marine life.

Hydropol is designed as an alternative to conventional plastic in a wide variety of applications as it provides the “same functionality and performance” but without the associated environmental problems.

It is currently used to make products such as garment bags, offering all the necessary features of traditional polybags: strength and puncture resistance; clarity of film; and protection from leakages and dirt.

Aquapak says its garment bags present “zero end-of-life issues” for consumers and brands.

They can be disposed of in existing domestic waste streams without contaminating other recyclable products or they can be dissolved immediately in hot water at home without producing microplastics.

The garment bags are also compostable and degrade harmlessly on land or in the ocean.

Meanwhile, Sappi North America is collaborating with Biophilica for its plastic-free leather alternative Treekind. The material is fully bio-based, home compostable, non-toxic and vegan, employing Sappi’s textured release paper to give the material an “ultra-realistic” look and feel in accessory retail products such as ID Genève Watches.

By Benjamin Ferrer

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