Shipping Without Plastic
At Usolo Outfitters, we believe that the ultimate goal of sustainability is for humans to exist in ways that strengthen and regenerate the planet for all future generations. Sustainability is therefore not simple. It can’t just be boiled down to end-of-life or where materials end up once they are consumed. It starts with conscious decisions to lessen a carbon footprint, and that starts with the little things, like implementing plastic-free packaging.
For instance, one of the biggest complaints about eCommerce packaging is that it uses non-recyclable elements. Sustainable, plastic-free packaging is a tangible, easy way for businesses of any size to reduce the amount of waste they produce and leave a positive effect on the planet. Using paper or cardboard instead of plastic or opting for compostable, biodegradable mailers rather than plastic poly mailers can make a big difference.
Our biodegradable mailers are made of corn starch, which is naturally compostable. They break down naturally within six months on a compost heap, leaving no harmful residues behind. In more technical terms, they are made from a combination of PBAT, a bio-based polymer that is compostable, and PLA which is made up of plant materials such as regular ﬁeld corn and wheat straw. Our use of PLA makes up barely 0.05% of the annual global corn crop, making it an incredibly low-impact resource.
The bags are certiﬁed by TUV Austria; meeting American, European, International, and Australian standards – including certiﬁcations for your domestic home compost. To gain these certiﬁcations, the biodegradable mailers must break down within 90 days in commercial compost and 180 days in domestic compost conditions, including worm farm compost. After degradation, they must leave no harmful residues behind. Made from a combination of corn-based biopolymers, the compostable mailer composts in 6 months (180 days) and is certified for both home and commercial compost.
Our white tissue paper is made entirely from post-consumer and post-industrial content and is recyclable and naturally biodegradable, of course. There is absolutely NO virgin fiber content.
Our compostable (adhesive) ship labels are compatible with direct thermal printers and certified EN13434 and compliant with ASTM D6400. They do not have a protective topcoat. This is to ensure that the labels are not eco-toxic and are aligned with ASTM D6400 compostability requirements. A top coating helps prevent high sensitivity but it also prevents microorganisms from entering the material, which is necessary for efficient composting.
Another aspect of our philosophy includes using as little material as possible. This is critical to our framework, it lead us to use a mailer over a shipping box where applicable. It also encouraged us to stock a variety of mailer sizes so each item we ship out can be packaged in as small a mailer as possible.
Generating as little waste as possible in our own operations is something we care about. While this is not always visible to our customers, the process of packaging and fulfilling orders generates waste. In order to lessen our environmental impact, we use direct thermal printers, because they do NOT require a ribbon that must be replaced (and thrown away), which is the actual case with thermal label printers. Plastic-free packaging is just another way we commit to sustainability at Usolo Outfitters.