Black Friday: a black day for sustainability?

Black Friday has well and truly cemented itself as a key date in the UK retail calendar. Last year, a huge £1.4bn was spent on online sales in the UK – up by 11.7% on last year. As a Manchester-based company, it’s always great to see the UK economy in such a strong position. However, there’s one thing we can’t ignore: A lot of packages means a lot of packaging!

 

With millions of transactions set to go through, just how much excessive packaging will flood homes following Black Friday? Customers bagging a bargain in the sales can expect their purchases to be well packaged. Even so, if past form is anything to go by, some may be packaged a little too well!

 

Person with credit card in hand looking at retail goods on laptop

Excessive packaging

Many of us will have ordered items online only to see them arrive covered in cardboard and plastic. It’s not uncommon to see shoebox-sized packaging for products as small as USB sticks or HDMI cables!

The issue has got so bad that the government could introduce new taxes on retailers using large amounts of cardboard, as part of the Resources and Waste Strategy. Retailers currently pay towards collection and recycling of the cardboard waste they produce through the Packaging Recycling Obligation system. In addition, councils spend millions of pounds annually for collection and recycling – and they say it’s not fair.

 

 

Where does Law Print come in?

Our BOPP 100% recyclable Bag

At Law Print, we are always on the lookout for new ways our packaging solutions can contribute to a circular economy. Where possible, using flexible plastics in order to save space on lorries and shelves. That’s why we’re launching a fantastic new 100% recyclable range. Made with innovative materials, the range still allows for high quality printing techniques for our customers’ premium brands.

Our range includes the new generation of woven BOPP bags which are made using only one material (PP = polypropylene), meaning they are 100% recyclable. The majority of plastic currently used in packaging is notoriously difficult to recycle due to multi-layered films and complex structures. Thanks to the mono film structure, our BOPP bags can be recycled at the end of use.

It’s because of the steps we have taken in packaging sustainability that we feel we are in a position to question the big retailers’ approach to packaging. In fact, we’ve voiced our views on this subject before.

 

What do the retailers say?

Amazon, the world’s biggest retailer, has said it has made efforts to reduce the amount of packaging it uses. A spokesman said: “We have introduced a number of sustainable packaging

Smart Phone Displaying the Amazon Appinitiatives, like Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging, which promotes easy-to-open, 100% recyclable packaging and lets us ship products in their own packages without additional boxes.

“Over the past 10 years, we have eliminated more than 244,000 tons of packaging materials, avoiding the use of 500 million shipping boxes.”

 

What can we do?

We as consumers must remember that we all have a responsibility to make sure our plastic and cardboard is being recycled where possible. Even if we are inundated with unnecessary packaging by big online retailers. If you are unsure, or need to locate your closest waste management facility, click here.

 

Share your thoughts on our Black Friday blog here or visit us here to see how we’re committing to sustainability without compromising on quality!

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