Oct 13, 2021

Combining circular mailing bags with circular clothing

Duo has created GreenPE mailing bags for Oliver Bonas and Re-Fashion clothes recycling initiative - we take a closer look.
Elisabeth Skoda

When fashion retailer Oliver Bonas teamed up with Re-Fashion to recycle "pre-loved" clothes and keep them in the wearable loop and out of landfill, it required a mailing bag solution that embraced the sustainable ethos of the partnership.

Mailing bags sit at the heart of the initiative, with the whole concept based on the idea that when a shopper receives a new order from Oliver Bonas, they could use it as an opportunity to replenish their wardrobe and send old clothes to Re-Fashion.

The organisation strives to make use of the 350,000 tonnes of good quality used clothes that are thrown away each year in the UK, by reselling wearable clothes, with a portion of each sale donated to charity.

To realise this mission, Manchester-based packaging manufacturer and consultancy Duo created an Oliver Bonas x Re-Fashion mailing bag, which is described as sustainable, recyclable, and user-friendly.

The mailing bag solution, which was launched on Earth Day this year (22nd April), is made from GreenPE, a "recyclable, thermoplastic resin derived from sources of renewable sugar cane." The mailing bags can be added to the Oliver Bonas’ customer’s order, free of charge, when they’re checking out.

When the mailing bag arrives in their order, shoppers can then follow the "easy-to-read" instructions, which have been printed as part of the bag design to support the partnership. These include simple steps for filling the Oliver Bonas x Re-Fashion bag with ‘well-loved, but no longer needed clothes’ and downloading a free Collect+ postage label, attaching it to the bag and dropping it off at a Collect+ collection point.

Once the clothes have been received by Re-Fashion and processed for resale, the GreenPE mailing bags are then returned to Duo, where they enter its closed loop recycling process. This keeps the material in the loop to reduce the reliance on virgin materials.

Zoe Brimelow, brand director at Duo, commented: “It was massively important that the material choice and design of the mailing bags aligned with both Oliver Bonas and Re-Fashion’s commitment to sustainability and reducing waste.

“As well as being derived from renewable resources and being completely recyclable, GreenPE is also lightweight and durable. This helps to further reduce its environmental footprint. It’s also possible to work with the material much in the same way as a conventional fossil-based polyethylene, meaning we can create and print a design that celebrates both brands and engages customers to encourage them to recycle pre-loved clothes.”

Elisabeth Skoda

Editor of Touchpoints magazine, writer for Packaging Europe magazine and design enthusiast!

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