Industry-wide problems demand an industry-sized response. For this reason over 35 brands and retailers from the outdoor industry are working together to take responsibility for their single use plastic poly bags.
One alternative we are implementing is to remove and properly care for protective plastic bags before they end up in incinerators, landfills, or are sent for export. Started in 2018, the Single Use Plastics Project, (an initiative of the European Outdoor Group) has sought to research and assess the impact of plastic bags in the supply chain of outdoor clothing and equipment, and to work swiftly towards making a meaningful impact on the problem.
Whilst in Germany, Dan worked with with brands such as Daniel Wellington and BMW - Ja!
Adam worked with clients like Vodafone, TAFE NSW, Adobe and also won the 'Good Design Australia' award for his work on the Seatfrog website.
The selection of recycled polyethylene as the poly bag material should not be considered as maintenance of the status quo. When coupled with system improvements that enable outright elimination of poly bags (where feasible) and capture of poly bags before they reach consumers, the incorporation of maximum levels of recycled content alongside implementation of this robust set of design-for-recycling considerations, has the potential to transform the system of using poly bags, significantly reducing waste, decoupling from fossil feedstocks, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and revolutionising the sustainability profile of poly bags.
The issue we continue to see is that plastic is particularly problematic at its end of life, and this is caused by a variety of reasons. Our bags end primarily at retail stores and with consumers, and in both situations the only option is to dispose of the plastic using local municipal waste systems.
These systems often cannot process, or do not process plastic films owing to the economics of waste management. The reality of what happens to a plastic bag after it is used is much more complicated than we originally understood, and requires us to have increased accountability and cooperation to make an impact.
Want to know more about why we have not selected an alternative material over recycled plastic for our poly bags?
Full Project Report coming soon.
Want to know more about what we recommend for poly bag design?
Read our standards document