Taking steps to be more mindful, in every way… That includes our packaging.
Earth Day 2020 is definitely a different Earth Day 2020 than what we imagined it would be at the start of this year.
Because we spend most of our time now viewing this big, wonderful planet of ours through windows and screens, much of our appreciation for the great outdoors has now been modified for the great INdoors. The National Park Foundation is streaming virtual tours and audio from its (almost) tourist-free areas. We’re setting up camp in our living rooms and backyards. According to our friends at Best Friends Animal Society, animals are being adopted and fostered at a wonderfully unprecedented rate. And, if we’re fortunate enough to, we’re ordering essential (and some not-so-essential) supplies to be delivered right to our doors.
While we’re on the topic of shopping, let’s talk about how some of our purchases are being shipped. As consumers, we’re often at the mercy of what our favorite brands choose to wrap our beloved gifts in. At Free People, we’ve always provided our store-venturing community with cloth bags (and tissue, when requested), and we’re really proud of that fact. Because these bags are made from reusable fabric and 100% biodegradable. Many of you have used your bags at the grocery store. Some of you have made homemade masks with them. A nurse in California even wrote us to say she was using her FP bag to carry PPE through the hospital where she’s currently working. Our cloth bags help to keep over 300,000 single-use bags from going to landfills. That’s definitely feel-good packaging.
Unfortunately, they don’t make for the best shipping material (just a little too soft). So, our Care FP team has worked with our vendors and distribution center to confirm that 100% of our external packaging — both cardboard and polybags — is recyclable and reusable. Our bags are a #4 poly, so make sure your curbside or community recycling center accepts them before placing in a bin for pick-up. Otherwise, these bags boast a second strip of self-adhesive so you can easily re-use it to wrap another package!
But, we’re going to take things even one step further. In the name of removing single-use plastic, our brand (and entire company, for that matter) will begin to introduce and require a biodegradable or similar, non-single use bag for all apparel and other categories. These bags are made of corn-based PLA (polylactic acid) and take only 6-12 weeks to fully decompose. You’ll first see these bags later this year when buying Free People’s brand apparel, before it’s also utilized to package and ship accessories, footwear and market brands starting this year and launching into 2021.
Earth Day 2020 is all about looking up, and outward. As our planet now has a rare chance to grow and heal in ways she mightn’t have been able to without this sudden break in our day-to-day, we dare to dream that Earth Day 2021 will be one to truly, truly celebrate.