Orchestrated by Fashion For Good, in partnership with fashion retailer C&A and fashion brand Levi Strauss & Co, the six month project uses novel bags from Fashion for Good innovators TIPA Corp. and Greenhope.

The bags are made with bio-based material to lessen fossil fuel consumption and are designed to compost in either home or municipal composting environments. The project aims to find alternative end-of-use for landfill-bound materials, and to provide an at-home option for consumers who do not have access to municipal composting programmes.

According to Fashion for Good, an estimated 180 billion polybags are produced every year to store, transport and protect apparel and footwear. Their production, use and end-of-use have a significant impact: conventional virgin polybags have a high carbon footprint and low recycling rates across the globe. Conventional bags are commonly incinerated, landfilled, or subject to environmental leakage, harming natural systems. To change this paradigm, the group believes innovation must both find appropriate disposal pathways that are less harmful to the environment and reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Aleix Busquets Gonzalez, head of global sustainability at C&A, says: “We are proud to participate in the home compostable polybag project by Fashion for Good. As part of our sustainability strategy, C&A has set high ambitions in the reduction of consumer-facing plastic by 2028. This pilot project plays a crucial part in reaching C&A’s plastic reduction goal and contributes significantly to an industry wide transition.” 

The project will see Fashion for Good partners C&A and Levi Strauss & Co test key home-compostable polybags that include, bio-based material from innovators TIPA Corp. and Greenhope, in their supply chain as a viable substitute to conventional plastic polybags.

Jeffrey Hogue, chief sustainability officer, at Levi Strauss & Co, adds: “The home-compostable polybag project with Fashion for Good is an exciting opportunity to pilot a solution for an ecommerce element our customers are all too familiar with – the polybag. This pilot not only moves us toward achieving our goal of eliminating single-use plastic in consumer-facing packaging by 2030, it also puts into practice the industry collaboration required to solve these ubiquitous challenges in hopes of reducing harmful elements within the apparel supply chain.” 

Fashion for Good is a global initiative that aims to inspire change and drive the collective movement to make fashion a force for good. The organisation works directly with the fashion industry to innovate towards solutions that are better for people and the planet and empower behaviour change through its sustainable fashion museum in Amsterdam.

According to Fashion for Good, there are several critical challenges to scaling home-compostable bags: functionality, impact, cost and infrastructure, all of which will be assessed over the course of the project. The innovative bags include bio-based content, which must be tested against key performance and quality properties, such as transparency, durability and longevity. This project seeks to benchmark these bags against conventional plastics in supply chains, as well as measuring the overall impact and associated costs of the materials.