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Leading senior fashion executives confirm aim to remove plastic

The vast majority of brands in a new survey reported plans to stop using environmentally-damaging packaging by 2030. 

flower in bag

Taking responses in from 100 of the industry’s most respected leaders, research conducted by Aquapak Polymers, a company that produced environmentally responsible materials, suggests that 8% of brands are looking at abandoning plastic within the next 12 months, 14% in the next two years, 19% in two-to-three years, and 30% within four and 28% within the coming five years. 

Almost half of those included admitted to being ‘extremely concerned’ about the impact of their business on the planet through the use of polybags including carrier and garment varieties, which are now mostly used for online purchases — which in countries such as the UK account for over 30% of all retails sales. Figures from global innovation platform Fashion for Good suggest the industry as a whole currently uses 180billion of these items annually. 

‘Our study shows that there is a commitment at the highest level in the fashion industry to stop using plastic.  Brands and retailers are already taking steps to reduce their dependency on plastic packaging, but the pace of change could be much faster,’ said Mark Lapping, Aquapak’s CEO. ‘New materials exist which perform in exactly the same way as plastic, providing garment and merchandise protection but do not have any of the environmental problems associated with it.’

Plastic now ranks third in the list of most important factors impacting the ‘green performance’ of fashion houses. Only energy efficiency in operations and sourcing merchandise were considered higher priorities. 77% had begun to fold items differently, and 59% have removed unnecessary packaging, in a bid to bring this down. However, just 46% have changed their packaging type so far, for example by switching to non-toxic, polymer based Hydropol, and tackling over-production, a key reason the sector remains the world’s second most polluting, accounting for 8% of emissions and 20% of wastewater, still does not seem to be high on the agenda.

More on fashion: 

One-third of fashion brands ‘fully circular’ by 2027

Manufacturer Climate Action Program launches for textile and apparel industry

Organisations invited to commit used workwear for groundbreaking polyester recycling

Image: Ika Dam

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