Online sustainable fashion retailer Thrift+ has partnered with UK-based packaging manufacturer Duo to develop an environmentally friendly mailing bag in line with Thrift+’s sustainable offerings.

Duo was commissioned to produce a GreenPE mailing bag for Thrift+’s collaboration with fashion brand Hush. Hush customers can request a mailing bag to send their unwanted items to Thrift+, which will photograph and put up the second-hand clothes for resale.

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A third of proceeds from items that sell through this method will be donated to a nominated charity, another third will go towards Thrift+’s cost, and another third towards the consumers’ Thrift+ credit. The consumer will also receive a 10% discount code to spend on Hush.

GreenPE is a thermoplastic resin made from sugarcane grown in southern Brazil and cultivated in a socially responsible way. According to Duo, the material is 100% renewable, recyclable, and sustainable.

The GreenPE bag created for Thrift+ mailing bags also features a unique QR code that, once scanned, will allow Thrift+ customers to arrange a return as part of a reverse logistics process. By implementing this code, Duo removes the need for a paper label to be delivered with the package and, in doing so, causes the bag to be contamination-free and recycled as part of Duo’s closed-loop recycling system.

In a statement, Duo said: “Thrift+ and Hush customers will use the QR code to return their mailing bags, which are filled with clothes to sell, to a specific destination. The fact the parcels are destined to go to the same location makes it possible for a QR code to be used for this process. Each bag’s unique code carries the details of what has sent the parcel, to be processed according to when it arrived with Thrift+.”

When the bag arrives with Thrift+, clothes inside the package are removed and the bag is collected and returned to Duo to be recycled using its closed-loop recycling facility. The material is used to produce new packaging products.

A further look into Duo’s GreenPE Bag

According to Duo, the company is “the first packaging manufacturer to combine this printing technology to offer a unique paperless label mailing bag, which can be manufactured using its sustainable GreenPE material.”

On its website, Duo states: “[GreenPE] retains the same properties, performance and application versatility of polyethylene from fossil origin, plus the same processes and machinery we use to create standard polythene products can be used too.”

GreenPE was developed by US-based petrochemical producer Braskem as a biobased product that is CO2 negative, as 2.78kg of CO2 is saved with every kilogram of green plastic produced.

Duo also produces an “I’m Green” seal for packaging which contains at least 35% of GreenPE material so that companies who use its packaging can promote their commitment to sustainability.

Further response from the companies

Thrift+ co-founder and CEO Joe Metcalfe said: “The ability for Duo to print a unique QR code on each bag has removed the need for us to attach a paper label on each bag. This has streamlined our operations saving us time, money, and materials.

“In addition to this, by using the Thrift+ service, our customers and those that shop with Hush, are actively engaging in the circular economy and so are almost always highly environmentally conscious. The fact that we can get the performance of plastic with the renewable and recyclable credentials of GreenPE is a huge win for us.”

Duo brand director Zoe Brimelow said: “There’s currently a huge demand for good quality polythene that can be recycled and reused at a high percentage to create new products without affecting the material’s performance. We developed this solution for Thrift+ using QR codes in place of paper labels to reduce contamination and deliver better quality recycled material that can be reused as part of a closed-loop recycling system.

“Thrift+ is a retailer that’s taking responsibility for its footprint, helping consumers become more sustainable in their approach to fashion. They have chosen the most environmentally-friendly material – lightweight, durable GreenPE polythene – and kept the value of this great material by eradicating contamination using a QR code.

“The opportunity to work with forward-thinking retailers such as Thrift+ and Hush as some of the first to embrace the solution is an exciting step forward for the industry, and one that we hope will be adopted by more retailers.