Our packaging journey

Here at Frugi we strive to put people and the planet first in everything we do, we are honest, transparent and work hard to stay true to our ethics and values. We're always striving to be the brand that our customers want us to be.

 

Making our packaging as eco-friendly as possible is very important to us, that's why we've always used brown potato sacks that can be composted.

 

...but we currently have an issue that doesn’t feel good, and we’re trying our very best to fix it...

 

The garment bag that your Frugi clothing comes in is currently made from an oxo biodegradable plastic.

 

What is oxo-biodegradable plastic?

Oxo-biodegradable plastics are widely used for packaging and with exposure to oxygen they biodegrade significantly faster than conventional plastics. They turn into supposedly harmless biodegradable matter over a period of a few months to a few years.

 

Frugi’s packaging journey and what we’ve learned along the way..

When we changed our packaging from conventional plastic a few years ago, Oxo-biodegradable plastic bags were considered to be the most eco-friendly option. Little was known about micro plastics and we honestly felt that these bags were a good choice for us.

We have since discovered that they’re not so great…Oxo-biodegradable plastics will break down into smaller pieces but these pieces then have to biodegrade resulting in lots of tiny little micro plastics being left behind...not good!

 

Plastic pollution and packaging has caused much debate recently, with lots of alternative options being suggested. However, we don’t just want to settle for an option that claims to be ‘Biodegradable’

 

We need a bag that lasts long enough to survive the journey from our suppliers in India to our customers all over the world, but its end of life is as environmentally friendly as possible.

 

You see, many bags on the market which say they are 'compostable’, when scrutinised further, can only be composted industrially and won’t simply biodegrade in your home compost heap.

There are currently just five Industrial composting sites in the UK and not all councils will support this type of recycling. The provision varies throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

 

The option that would seem obvious to many would be a PBAT compostable bag. These bags are generally made from a 30% plant based polymer (this could be corn, potato, sugar cane, thistle, tapioca) and 70% Fossil fuels.

So while PBAT is incredibly biodegradable and will decompose in home compost leaving no toxic residues, it is currently partly derived from oil.

Our biggest challenge…
To find a bag that is as eco-friendly as possible but also lasts for 2 years.

As most of our fabulous Frugi clothing is made in India and we work so far ahead of the current season, we need to make sure our packaging is fit for purpose. This means our bags need to last for at least 2 years and be able to protect the Frugi clothing inside from horrible wet weather conditions on its way to Frugi HQ…and then out to you!
We also want to make the end of life of our bags as easy as possible for our customers.

 

Over the past 12 months, Katie, our Project Manager has been working her socks off to find a solution we are happy with. We’re not satisfied we’ve found the perfect packaging  just yet, but we wanted to share our findings so far with you…

Alternatives we’ve looked at so far...

 

Home compostable options- such as 100% corn and potato starch, these are the cloudy looking bags that magazines are often wrapped in. Unfortunately these bags do not last long enough before starting to biodegrade, usually around 12 weeks. Frugi fans may remember us trialing these bags in the past.

 

PBAT As mentioned before, these bags are made from a mix of fossil fuels and plant based polymers. The bags are usually 70% fossil fuels, with the plant based polymer component being only 30%.

One popular option included in this category was Sugar cane, however this is sourced from Brazil and unfortunately has no robust sustainability plan at present. All of these PBAT options also have a high carbon footprint, but potentially might be a step in the right direction...We need to do more digging on this one.

 

FSC Paper based product

This option is much more expensive and uses more water to produce, but certainly something we are considering as recycling is widely available. All paper alternatives we've looked at are FSC accredited, biodegradable/compostable and recyclable.

 

Change to a recyclable plastic bag and unpack at Frugi HQ before sending out.

This is something we have thought about and have run trials to see what happens to our clothing without a bag. Unfortunately some of our testers weren’t happy with the results. Replacing garments due to damage isn’t ideal and would be less eco-friendly.

 

 

While we find a new packaging solution we need your help…

 

When you receive your Frugi goodies, please open them carefully so you don’t damage the plastic bag inside, the bags have a resealable strip on them to make them stay sticky. If you resell your children’s clothing please reuse the bag to package it up.

If you can include a note asking the recipient to do the same that’d be fab.

 

We love our planet and will do our best to find a solution as soon as we can…if you have any suggestions we’re all ears! We'll be chatting about this and other topics over on our Frugi Family Facebook page. Join the group and let us know your thoughts!

 

Watch this space...

We will be placing our next batch of orders for spring/summer 2020 very soon and will have an alternative to our oxo-biodegradable solution in place for then.