If you’ve ever received clothing through the post, it will most likely have arrived in a clear plastic “poly-bag”. The clothing industry uses 180 billion polythene bags every year, and each one will go straight into the bin once you’ve ripped it off your new purchase. Poly-bags are an efficient choice for clothing companies because they’re super-cheap (fractions of a penny), strong, very light (which is good for keeping transport emissions low), and see-through which helps the retailer and customer. But they’re single use. They’re made from non-renewable petrochemicals – and if they make their way into the ocean, they’re pretty bad news.
What about paper and cardboard? Well, they can also be problematic. If trees have to be felled for the paper or card (i.e. not recycled), and it comes from non-sustainably harvested forestry, then the environmental impact can be very severe. Virgin paper creates roughly three times more emissions than the plastic alternative, and weighs more too, thus generating more carbon emissions in transport. Oof.
In 2020 we decided to completely phase out poly-bags and other single-use plastics from our operations. But if we can’t use plastic, and also can’t use paper, how do we look after your clothes in the post? This is where science steps in to save the day. Presca compostable bags are made from natural starches, and have almost all the same qualities as plastic poly-bags, but are completely biodegradable after use.
This small scenario – what bag do we put your clothes in? - has huge implications, and is actually a good illustration of Presca’s overall philosophy. By looking into the details, carefully weighing up multiple options, and investigating the latest developments that science and technology have to offer, we are able to arrive at the optimum available solution that has a minimal impact on the environment while still delivering a high-quality product and service.
Instead of despairing about what we can’t do, we work for solutions and progress. Of course, an even better solution than compostable bags may be just around the corner. And as soon as it’s available to us, we will be the first to tell you.