- Simone Preuss |
Even though their e-commerce site has ensured the survival of many fashion retailers during the global pandemic, it is no secret that the flood of shipped packages has had a negative impact on the environment - seven times more packaging is required for e-commerce compared to brick-and-mortar retail. Swedish menswear label Asket wanted to do something about this and has managed to completely eliminate plastic and reduce the amount of its packaging material by almost a quarter.
Instead of poly bags, the Stockholm-based brand now uses cards and cardboard boxes made from 100 percent recycled paper. This reduces the amount of packaging material per order by 22 percent and cuts packaging-related CO2 emissions by 47 percent. Packaging costs also fell by 45 percent. So it’s a win-win situation from an economic and ecological point of view. And not to forget, the new packaging looks much more elegant too.
Of course, the overhaul did not happen overnight, but has taken Asket 12 months to prepare, during which the old packaging was analysed closely. For example, the young label checked which packaging elements could be avoided altogether, how heavy the paper/cardboard used has to be to fulfil its purpose and whether it is possible to use 100 percent recycled materials. The short answers: polybags, extra paper; not as heavy as thought, and: yes.
Less is more: less packaging, more advantages
Asket was able to reduce its volume from six different packaging sizes to four and replaced the remaining two with paper bags, achieving a 35 percent reduction in packaging volume. At the same time, it was possible to reduce the thickness of the cardboard. Also, an XL size package was added to accommodate the increased number of larger orders. Combining the greeting card and the return instructions also resulted in a 50 percent reduction of paper used.
The result is mailer cards and boxes made from 100 percent recycled paper, Paptic and Glassine paper bags from FSC-certified suppliers and a design that takes into account both a reduction in materials used and the desired protective function. At the same time, the new packaging appeals to customers with easy-to-read labels and a functional shape. Asket compiled the lessons they learned in a white paper so that other brands and retailers can benefit too.
“When it comes to reducing one’s environmental impact, nothing is simple. Our 12-month project was multi-faceted and full of learning. We hope that with the white paper, we can provide a good framework for other brands to follow, regardless of their current packaging configuration,” said Estelle Nordin, operations manager at Asket and project leader for the packaging overhaul, in a statement.