Let’s Stop Wrapping Apparel in Plastic

Four reasons to switch to paper-based packaging

Glassine packaging for apparel

We have a waste problem, in which the fashion industry plays a big role. An estimated 19-23 million tons of plastic waste is dumped into our rivers, streams and waterways, and the vast majority (89%) is comprised of single-use plastics, such as poly bags—the primary packaging used to protect apparel items, including swimwear, t-shirts and undergarments.

Many of these bags are made with fossil fuels and other chemicals that can leach into the environment. And while they’re technically recyclable, most cities with single-stream recycling programs do not offer curbside recycling options for plastic. This means you have to take them somewhere to be recycled—which only a small percentage of people will do.

Like you, a lot of apparel manufacturers are starting to recognize the issues associated with using single-use plastics in their supply chain. Everlane committed to completely eliminating virgin plastic from its supply chain, replacing plastic poly bags with FSC-certified paper alternatives, which are fully recyclable in municipal waste streams.

If you’re considering eliminating or reducing your use of single-use plastic packaging, here are four key reasons to switch to paper-based alternatives:

1. Consumers Prefer Paper Packaging

The issue of plastic waste has gone mainstream, and is now a major factor in your customer’s purchasing decisions. According to Environmental Leader, a recent Harris poll survey found more than three-quarters of Americans wish brands use more paper packaging rather than plastic. The same study found that more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) would be more likely to purchase from online retailers and brands that offer plastic-free choices.

eco-friendly apparel packaging

2. Paper Communicates Your Brand’s Sustainability Values

Using single-use plastic for ethical and sustainable-product sends mixed signals to your customer, and you may already be receiving complaints on social media. As journalist Jessica Paige notes in Packaging Gateway, “Although packaging is an important brand-building tool, it can also be reputationally damaging if brand values aren’t translated in the packaging…If customers order a sustainable product, they’ll expect the packaging to follow suit—and be instantly disappointed if it doesn’t before they’ve even opened the box.”

glassine bags are an alternative for polybags

3. Paper Reduces Environmental Waste

Taking up to 1,000 years to break down in the environment, plastic waste is not only unsightly, it can also cause harm to wildlife big and small. Paper packaging is more easily recycled and is comprised of natural byproducts that will more easily break down in a natural setting, reducing the potential risk to ecosystems.

eliminate the use of single-use plastic bags

4. Creatively Designed Paper Can Enhance Your Brand

For a long time, paper eco-packaging was synonymous with the brown kraft paper used for paper grocery bags, but that’s no longer the case! Innovations and technology have led to the development of various paper colors, weights, coatings that are can create durable papers that can also offer translucent properties if needed—all creatively designed to reflect your brand and delight your customers.

plastic-free packaging for apparel

Ready to present your apparel products in something that doesn’t require a suffocation warning for young kids? Good news, plenty of paper-based alternatives exist that are not only 100% curbside recyclable and biodegradable, but are sourced responsibly and can build your brand value:

  • Recycled Content: No matter the percentage or grade, at JBM Packaging, we manufacture innovative packaging solutions made of recycled content to help meet your sustainability goals.
  • Sustainably Sourced Paper: Looking for a particular certification, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or the Rainforest Alliance? If you’re looking to ensure your paper is sourced responsibly, we can help you design a package that meets your requirements.
  • Made in the USA: Unlike many of our competitors, all of our products are made in the USA, manufactured in our own facilities centrally located in Cincinnati, Ohio. This helps reduce carbon emissions associated with the transportation process.
  • Biodegradable: Made with a high percentage of biodegradable materials, paper is more easily able to decompose in the natural environment, giving you the peace of mind that your packaging will not end up as environmental waste that could potentially bring harm to our planet.
  • Glassine: Glassine is a type of paper that possesses the appearance and durability of waxed paper, but unlike waxed paper, it’s naturally biodegradable. Glassine can be branded with crisp, full-color artwork, custom-sized for your product and is easily recycled at the end of its use.
  • Better for Communities: Sustainability also means finding ways of doing business that helps people and builds a better future. Our Fair Chance program provides formerly incarcerated workers with transferrable job skills and meaningful career opportunities to help them become responsible contributors within their communities.

If you’re ready to stop wrapping your apparel products in plastic, JBM can help.