Sustainable garment bags you didn’t know your business needed
Many might find this staggering, but it is estimated that the global garment industry is manufacturing more than 170 billion garments a year, and this is growing.
To give this some perspective, the global population is currently standing at 7.96 billion people, taking the estimates of annual global garment manufacture, which averages out to over 21 garments produced for every man, woman and child on the planet, each year. Whilst there are some obvious limitations to this equation, it illustrates the magnitude of global garment production and consumption.
This trend has been significantly driven by the fast fashion phenomenon, one which whilst not appearing to be slowing too much, is being called into question regularly for its impact on our globe from a sustainability perspective.
The single-use poly bag
Consider that of the 170 billion + garments produced each year, a sizeable proportion of these garments will include in their early life cycle, at least 1 single-use poly bag to provide individualised protection to garments as they make their way from factory to their end destination.
Arguably, these single-use bags rarely make it into the recycling processes we are all trying so hard to expand and make viable. Instead, they invariably make their way into our landfills or out into the environment, something we have all seen images of the environmental impacts this causes.
How can you make a change?
Let’s just go back to the earlier number mentioned. On average we each consume 21+ garments per year, with a large portion of this number likely to be packed or shipped in a plastic poly bag. Think of the number of these bags that are escaping any form of the recycling process and ending up in channels that have little hope of providing eco-friendly solutions for disposal.
So, what can be done about this? We try to be conscientious recyclers, we clean, we separate our plastics, and we try to buy products that clearly use less plastic packaging to ensure we are doing our bit for the environment.
Whilst from the perspective of cost and ease of functionality plastic is hard to beat, paper can provide a long-standing alternative to the many problems associated with plastic. Paper is one of the most recycled packaging materials these days, with large proportions of paper-based packing being produced from sustainable sources.
It is generally accepted that the infrastructure to recycle paper-based products is more developed than the same processes for plastics, especially soft plastics like garment poly bags.
The alternative solution – sustainable garment bags
Sustainable garment bags specifically are a popular alternative to the traditional clear poly bag that is now available to the fast-growing demand.
As an example, immago is heavily invested in compostable bag packaging along with degradable options too. Pleasingly, the acceptance of these substrates has gained traction over recent years, and whilst there will remain a place in the market for these types of bags in satisfying the company’s eco-friendly goals, expansion of offerings is continuing, and other material options are being added to the mix that can viably be used as alternatives to the traditional poly bag.
Enter an oldie but a goodie – Glassine paper!
Not a new material by any means, but definitely an eco-friendly alternative to the most popular options of today, that will do nothing but enhance your sustainability story.
Glassine paper is a smooth, semi-glossy paper that is resistant to air, water, and grease. Often seen used by philatelists to protect their stamp collections, used as interleaving in photo albums, or the base material used for release liners on self-adhesive labels for example.
So why not garment bags also?
With paper weight offerings between 50 & 90 gsm, this material is 100% recyclable, degradable, plastic-free, and printable to one face of a typical garment bag design. The “eco-ness” of these bags can be enhanced further with solvent-free, vegetable-based inks being used to print on the selected face.
Glassine garment bags are recyclable through local collection programmes, they are transparent to retain the functionality of a traditional garment bag (including the ability to scan barcodes through the bag), and they provide good levels of durability to stand up to reasonable levels of shipping punishment, and they are moisture-resistant to reduce issues with humidity.
Despite how they feel, glassine paper is made from 100% wood pulp. The final product look, feel and function are achieved through a paper processing method called supercalendering.
This extended set of production processes is what gives unique features to glassine paper.
Supercalendering changes the cellular construction from the standard feel and appearance of general paper we all know, to a substrate that is less prone to moisture absorption, has higher tensile strength, is non-abrasive and does not shed fibres as normal paper does.
Additionally, it provides another great benefit over and above poly bags… glassine bags are static-free, which makes them even more ideal for the packing of garments.
Glassine paper in its original form is not coated with any wax or silicone. Papers incorporating those additions are quite different, they do not possess the same recyclable properties of glassine.
To further illustrate the benefits these types of bags can offer, they can be made from FSC-certified papers to support the origin path from forest source to the finished paper product, sustainably managed through every part of the manufacturing chain.
Kraft-based paper bags for example are nothing new, and possibly not 100% ideal for garment bags due to a lack of transparency.
However, would a hybrid kraft bag that incorporates a large transparent, compostable face be of interest?
We are sure you will see that this type of bag is a serious contender to the long-standing poly bag.
Whilst paper-based glassine garment bags are one offering, there are many more suitable options available that immago can assist with.
And don’t forget the kraft-based shipping envelopes are an ideal complement to your sustainability drive, and an excellent item that we can also assist with.
Let us help your business make a sustainable change in style
Paper-based shopping bags are one of the most versatile forms of shopping bags and branding mechanisms available to retailers that showcase your product while enhancing your customer’s shopping experience.
The team at immago are ready to work with you to produce a shopping bag solution from a range of materials tailored to your unique requirements and branding.
Want to know more about how we can help your garment business make an eco-friendly impact in style?
Visit our retail packaging solutions page. For a free quote or any questions about how we can help then please don’t hesitate to contact us today and one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff members will be in touch soon.