There’s a reason why eight states so far have banned non-biodegradable plastic bags. It’s been said that a single plastic bag can take 500 years to decompose, and 100 billion of these bags were used in just one year in the United States.
When I heard that Pact was on a mission to package all its products in single-use plastic with organic technology—that is, with an additive that makes them recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable—and to do it all by Earth Day 2020, I couldn’t help but stick out my lower lip and nod my head in approval. Here’s this Boulder-based company that prides itself on selling only the best organic cotton, manufacturing in Fair Trade Certified factories, and even running its business on solar-powered server farms: how fitting that they would also be driven to own sustainability in the packaging category.
But wait. Perhaps you’re asking yourself the same questions I asked myself—why did Pact ever use polybags to begin with? And why are they resorting to plastic, although eco-friendly, yet again?
As I understand it, polybag packaging is required for quality control. After Pact products are finished being made in Fair Trade CertifiedTM factories overseas, they have a journey of oceanic proportions back to the United States. Along the way, product boxes frequently get beat up and tossed around, many times even ripped open and exposed to dirt and moisture. The plastic bags are the only things that stand between the product and the elements. Eliminate the bag, and you take away the product’s only protection. And we all know that a damaged, unwearable product—considering the energy, water, and resources used to make it—packs a much more negative environmental impact than a plastic bag.
As Pact founder Brendan Synnott said: “We are always trying to do better, for our customers, our vendor partners, and the environment. Packaging, especially in apparel, is very challenging and has been a weak spot for the industry, but we think this is a great step in the right direction. Our team found a new bag that protects our products in shipment and storage just like plastic bags, but has an enzyme that eats the plastic once it goes into the landfill. No plastics or microplastics.”
So if plastic is the problematic imperative, then this biodegradable, compostable packaging seems like the solution. I’ll spare you the science, but, in a nutshell, the technology is essentially an organic additive that speeds up the biodegradation process, yet doesn’t affect its recycling capabilities.
How’s that for radical transparency? You asked, and they’re making it happen. No company is perfect, but I can’t help but admire Pact’s initiative to take every step possible to help improve their eco-footprint on our world.
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