Oct 11, 2021

New paperless label mailing bag facilitating returns

Online retailer Thrift+ has developed a mailing bag with a QR code instead of a label for clothes in cooperation with Duo UK.
Elisabeth Skoda

Online retailer Thrift+ has developed a mailing bag with a QR code instead of a label for clothes in cooperation with Duo UK.

For Thrift+, Duo has created GreenPE mailing bags made from sugar cane ethanol that feature a unique QR code that allows the recipient of the bag to scan to arrange a return as part of a reverse logistics process. The QR code eradicates the need for a paper label, which creates a contamination-free mailing bag that can be recycled as part of Duo’s closed loop recycling system.

Thrift+ allows customers to sell second-hand fashion items via its website and donates a portion of proceeds to one of 160,000 registered charities in the UK, potentially saving them from going to landfill.

Duo has also been commissioned to produce a GreenPE mailing bag for the retailer’s collaboration with women’s fashion and lifestyle brand hush. Hush customers can request a mailing bag to send their unwanted fashion items to Thrift+, which photographs the items and lists them for sale on the Thrift+ website. Once an item sells, a third of the proceeds are donated to the nominated charity, a third covers Thrift+’s cost and a third goes to the customer as Thrift+ credit. The customer also receives a 10% discount code to spend on hush.

Duo claims it is the first packaging manufacturer to combine this printing technology to offer a unique paperless label mailing bag, which can be manufactured using its sustainable GreenPE material. GreenPE is a thermoplastic resin made from sustainably-derived sugar cane that is both renewable and recyclable. Each kilogram of Green PE produced saves 2.78kg of CO2 when compared to the production of conventional fossil-based polyethylene, the company says.

Thrift+ and hush customers will use the QR code to return their mailing bags, which are filled with clothes to sell, to a specific destination. The fact the parcels are destined to go to the same location makes it possible for a QR code to be used for this process. Each bag’s unique code carries the details of who has sent the parcel, to be processed accordingly when it arrives with Thrift+.

Once the mailing bags reach the destination, the clothes are removed and the bags are collected and returned to Duo to be recycled using its closed loop recycling facility. The high-quality polythene material is then used to produce new packaging products.

Joe Metcalfe, Co-Founder & CEO of Thrift+, said: “The ability for Duo to print a unique QR code on each bag has removed the need for us to attach a paper label on each bag. This has streamlined our operations saving us time, money, and materials.

“In addition to this, by using the Thrift+ service, our customers and those that shop with hush, are actively engaging in the circular economy and so are almost always highly environmentally conscious. The fact that we can get the performance of plastic with the renewable and recyclable credentials of GreenPE is a huge win for us.”

Zoe Brimelow, Brand Director at Duo, added: “There’s currently a huge demand for good quality polythene that can be recycled and reused at a high percentage to create new products without affecting the material’s performance. We developed this solution for Thrift+ using QR codes in place of paper labels to reduce contamination and deliver better quality recycled material that can be reused as part of a closed loop recycling system."

Elisabeth Skoda

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

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