June 26, 2019Sustainability
#STARTSOMEWHERE: HAH Packaging
Lately everyone’s been asking about our confusing usage of plastic bags. We’re a sustainable brand so why are we still shipping our products in plastic bags? We don’t we use recycled bags or just not use any bags at all? We totally feel your frustration with plastic, so we’d like to share the whole story behind our usage of plastic bags and why ours mean so much to us.
In the spirit of honesty and transparency, we want to start our story by letting you in on one of the fashion industry’s dirtiest little secrets. Every product produced worldwide is required by law to be packed in clear plastic packaging. You may be asking, “if everyone is required to do this, then how can some companies ship their products to me in non-transparent, eco-friendly packaging or without any packaging at all?” The truth is, they can’t. They typically remove this clear plastic packaging at their storage facilities, where it becomes waste. Most companies then wrap the products in more plastic, tissue paper, and/or eco-friendly packaging before shipping them to you. In fact, the average product is packed and repacked upwards of 1.5 times between the factory and your doorstep!
What we’re trying to say here is that unless the original manufacturer packages from the inception of shipment to you, your packaging (even eco-friendly) can often be repackaged so you feel it’s more sustainable. We really are not judging. We know that we’re all just trying to do the best that we can. But as a startup, we can only focus category by category to incur the cost of green packaging that meets legal governmental standards AND domestic shipping standards of larger retailers. So as we do this, we choose NOT to repackage. Yes, we could have chosen to unpack all of our lingerie and apparel, discard the plastic that you are receiving, and pay for new “green” packaging to make you all feel better, but that’s waste. If you think about it, that’s double the waste and double the stress on our environment.
All of the plastic bags in the picture above are HAH. This is the waste from a week-long photoshoot. Can you imagine what the waste looks like for larger companies daily?
Here at HAH, we’re all about finding innovative ways to disrupt the cycles of waste that are destroying our planet, and a huge part of that is ending our toxic dependency on plastic. No lies, no cover ups, no putting a pretty bow on an ugly industry secret. We work hard to make the most out of the plastic bags we are required to use – the plastic bag that your HAH order arrives in is the same plastic bag it was packed in at the factory. We are proud to say that your purchase comes from the last hands that touched your garment anywhere in the world – most likely a woman’s hands – to you.
Recycled and reusable plastic options are gaining traction in the industry, but we still have a long way to go. Recycled bags cost 245 times the cost of regular plastic bags to produce (no that’s not a typo), making them virtually inaccessible to smaller brands. To afford these, we would have to increase the cost of our products dramatically, and no one wants to pay $50+ for a pair of panties. These innovative packaging options also require minimum purchases of over tens of thousands, and these new materials are untested in the broader market. Meaning, we could by ten thousand biodegradable bags at 245x the cost, and they could degrade before we use them as a small brand.
But we’re so passionate about breaking up with plastic that we have invested in recycled, reusable, and biodegradable poly bags to package our swimwear collection, which means your favorite HAH bikini will come to you in a 100% biodegradable bag, that is not only reusable but also waterproof (use it poolside or bring it to the beach)!
We are far from perfect, but we are committed to driving change in the fashion industry and being as transparent as possible with our customers. Changing the world happens step by step, and we believe that every step counts towards a greener, cleaner, and brighter future for generations to come.
Let’s #STARTSOMEWHERE together.