BESTSELLER is on track to substitute all polybags made of virgin plastic used for packaging with certified 100 percent recycled alternatives by the end of the year.

The new polybags are made of 100 percent recycled polyethylene (PE) certified by Global Recycling Standard and are also designed for subsequent high-quality recycling.

This change is in line with BESTSELLER’s Policy for Plastic Packaging and an important step in the Fashion FWD sustainability strategy.

“We estimate that BESTSELLER suppliers use 175 million polybags per year and by the end of 2021 they will have exhausted their existing stockpile of old virgin plastic polybags and have replaced them with the new version made from 100 percent recycled plastic,” says Henrik Sand, BESTSELLER Sustainability’s Project Manager responsible for owned and operated buildings and indirect procurement.

“Already in the fourth quarter of 2020, our suppliers purchased over 49 million recycled polybags from our preferred suppliers, so we are well on the way with this important transition.”

Fashion FWD progress

To reduce the environmental impact of packaging, BESTSELLER has developed two policies: one focused on plastic packaging and the other dedicated to paper and cardboard. The policies cover all packaging including trim and marketing.

The two packaging policies represent a milestone in BESTSELLER’s work to achieve two Fashion FWD goals:

• By 2025, we will phase out single-use virgin plastic wherever possible.

• By 2025, all consumer-facing packaging will be 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable.

The ongoing switch to more sustainable polybags is a significant step in the execution of these policies, which will be formally introduced to all BESTSELLER brands this week.

Polybags remain business critical

While plastic use – and its subsequent waste – remains a critical problem for society, polybags are still the best option compared to non-plastic alternatives or not using them at all.

Garments wrapped in polybags are protected during transport from production all the way to the stores or to end-consumers shopping online. Not using polybags to protect products would result in more damaged products which have a greater environmental impact than manufacturing polybags.

In addition, producers of paper-based alternatives to polybags are not at the scale required to meet BESTSELLER’s needs. BESTSELLER’s Sustainability Teams continue to monitor this industry, however, in their constant search for better solutions.

The recycled plastic used to make BESTSELLER’s new polybags can come from both pre-consumer and post-consumer waste but must be fully documented 100 percent PE, so that the recycled product retains its Global Recycling Standard certification. Another aim is to make the polybag size and weight fit for purpose – as small and lightweight as possible. Pre-consumer waste typically refers to off-cuts and scraps during the manufacturing of other products, while post-consumer waste means it has already been used (e.g. plastic bags, plastic bottles).