14th Sep 2020
Premium lifestyle brand Joules has continued its cost neutral approach to packaging design and development to support its ‘Responsibly Joules’ commitment to operating fairly, responsibly and sustainably.
After adopting GreenPE for its ecommerce mailing bags in 2019, Joules’ attention turned to other packaging products and how the business could become more circular, as part of a closed loop approach, embarking on the journey of how it could capture plastic waste and utilise it within new packaging products.
Claire Lockyer, Packaging Design and Production Manager at Joules, explained: “Looking at our plastic waste and ways to recycle the waste to create new products, gave us an opportunity to consider a dedicated packaging solution for our click and collect bags. The challenge was to develop a packaging product with a clear plastic side that would allow staff at our distribution centre, staff in stores, and customers to see the products without opening the bag, reducing possible touch points. We assessed what we needed the bag to do in terms of its functionality as well as trying to marry this up with the capabilities of our plastic waste.
“Working with Duo, we identified the material properties we needed and they ran some initial trials using polybag waste generated as part of our business processes. To optimise the quality of the recycled pellet we had segregated our clear polybag waste stream and this waste produced a good quality recycled pellet that could be used to create this new click and collect design.
“We are due to embark on a trial run of our click and collect bags that will comprise 50% recycled waste with 50% GreenPE. The bags will be clear and the opaque side will be achieved by printing a white layer that will be overprinted with our brand design. We’re aiming to have the trial bags in circulation by the end of August 2020.
“As part of this trial we’ll capture feedback from our staff and supply chain to make any necessary tweaks to determine the final product, as part of the development process. In the meantime, we’re stockpiling our own clear polybag plastic waste so that we can replace the 50% recycled waste with Joules’ own post-consumer waste for the first full production run of the final product to implement the first stage of circularity in our packaging systems.”
By utilising the waste polythene generated as part of its business processes, segregating it and working with Duo to recycle it, Joules is reducing its dependency on virgin plastics and supporting the business’ own material demand. The clear bags that are being collected and recycled for the click and collect project are already made from GreenPE, thus further detaching the retailer from using finite sources for its packaging products.
Claire continued: “In response to COVID, we recognise how this bag design will benefit customers that have switched to shopping with us online but opt to collect in store. The click and collect bag will minimise touchpoints – it allows staff to easily locate the correct package for the customer and it also allows the customer to view the product first without having to open the bag.”
Ruby Fowler, CSR Manager at Joules, added: “We want to be in a good place to transition and update products that use plastic materials in good time ahead of the UK’s Plastic Packaging Tax in April 2022. Our click and collect project will be a proof of concept for us. If we can prove it works and maintain the circularity of the materials, it will demonstrate a circular approach that we can then look to apply to other materials and waste within the business.
“Packaging is a good starting point for circularity, and it will allow us to look at how we can capture waste within the warehouse and better utilise the materials. The next step for us to investigate, once we have the click and collect product finalised, would be the possibility of removing the polybags from garments ordered online before they are shipped to customers. This means they wouldn’t have to worry about the waste, and we could collect a greater volume centrally at the distribution centre which could then be recycled by Duo and used to create new packaging products.”
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