ASOS and other online stores are making pledges to cut down on their unnecessary packaging. Online brands, such as ASOS are signing a pledge with Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s News Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an initiative that is trying to globally encourage businesses and government to follow the circular economy for plastics.
This pledge looks at eliminating the amount of waste, single use plastic packaging and changing designs of product protections to cut down on the waste the online shopping industry creates, with ASOS vowing to cut out 50% of packaging not essential to product protection, on their own in-house design products.
This is a goal that will be put into place to take effect in 2025, giving them 5 years to come up with solutions and develop better packaging. This however, will not affect other brands that ASOS sells, only their own brand. They will not be getting rid of all packaging, such as garment bags, which is a greener solution than replacing them. When ASOS get their products in, replacing the garment bag (that the item would already come to them in) would promote more waste than is already being produced. Some customers are advocating that they should switch to NatureFlex (biodegradable plastic made from wood pulp), but a spokesperson from ASOS said that this would not be any greener, as NatureFlex doesn’t break down in landfill. Bioplastics could be something for the brand to explore if they are looking for a greener plastic, while wanting the same protections.
The brand is promoting a reuse policy, where any packaging of theirs can be sent back through their returns. It will then be used on another order. This is a good way to cut back on waste for the brand, so long as people take advantage of it.
Policies like this are a great start for online retailers to reduce their single use packaging or finding alternatives. The main policies that are being pledged to, are that:
- “Elimination of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging through redesign, innovation, and new delivery models is a priority”
- “Reuse models are applied where relevant, reducing the need for single-use packaging”
- “All plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable”
- “All plastic packaging is reused, recycled, or composted in practice”
- “The use of plastic is fully decoupled from the consumption of finite resources”
- “All plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals, and the health, safety, and rights of all people involved are respected”
These are the things we can soon expect from the online retailers that are making this pledge. It’s a step in the right direction for packaging, with a focus on reusing and recycling, a necessary component to the protection of products, instead of cutting it out completely.