Industry-wide problems demand an industry-sized response. For this reason over 45 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.
At present, we rely on consumers and retail stores to be responsible and recycle, and municipalities to be capable of caring for plastic bags. Products are placed in protective plastic bags (made almost exclusively from virgin materials) at the manufacturer and stay that way until they are taken out by the consumer after a purchase. The plastic bag is then discarded, and even if done responsibly will most likely end up in an incinerator, landfill, or sent for export.
We would like to strip off plastic after it has ensured that product has safely arrived with brands and retailers. They send you the product, and then make sure the plastic is cared for and recycled. To do this we have joined together in a pan-European collaboration with specific recyclers who we can trust will keep these plastic bags far away from landfills or incinerators. We can create an industry-sized stream of clean, pre-sorted, homogenous plastics. Cared for this way, the material has tremendous value, and could be used for new products or even potentially in future generations of plastic bags. But most importantly, it can be verifiably returned locally to the resource stream.
This may not be the solution to the single use plastics problems, but it is a collective step in the right direction. Applied correctly across the industry, it can account for as much as 86% of the poly bags moving through the supply chain.