By the time June rolled around, global retail e-commerce traffic had reached an all-time peak, recording a whopping 22 billion monthly visits.
We also saw a significant rise in ethical and environmentally motivated shoppers during this time. In one global survey, 50 per cent of participants said they had become more eco-friendly buyers during the pandemic.
There is an obvious disconnect between shopping with our environmental values and shopping online. Digital purchases carry extra weight for the planet due to the added carbon emissions of freight transport and the packaging required to safely deliver products to our door.
Thankfully, brands have risen to the challenge of providing solutions like carbon-offsetting transport and, in the case of The Better Packaging Co., creating an alternative to the piles of plastic packaging gagging our bins. Founded by Rebecca Percasky and Kate Bezar, the brand developed a range of compostable courier bags and satchels, helping to (quite literally) break down e-commerce waste.
The Better Packaging Co.
Percasky was first exposed to the sheer volume of packaging waste while working in e-commerce for a tech start-up. “Approximately 65 billion parcels are sent worldwide every year, and each one of those parcels is wrapped in additional packaging,” she explains. Understanding that the e-commerce industry is growing by 50 per cent annually – meaning our plastic problem isn’t going away anytime soon – she started searching for better options.
After two years of research and development, Percasky and Bezar created a biodegradable packaging alternative using corn starch, polylactide (PLA) and a compostable resin called polybutyrate adipate terephthalate (PBAT). This combination of non-toxic, plant-derived materials means nearly all of The Better Packaging Co.’s products are designed to break down in three to six months in a home or commercial compost. Despite the ease at which they decay, the packages have all the durability and practical elements of a regular plastic satchel to ensure online purchases maintain their integrity.
The Better Packaging Co.
Packaging isn’t exactly the most exciting element of an online purchase, but The Better Packaging Co.’s original take on what is usually a bland piece of the parcel has become something of a celebrity. “Kate and I joke that we’ve become the first ‘Insta-worthy’ courier satchel,” Percasky says. “You would never see people taking a photo of a regular courier satchel and putting it on Instagram.”
The Better Packaging Co.’s Instagram feed is filled with tagged images from customers and businesses, many of which feature the brand’s first product, a biodegradable courier satchel stamped with the now infamous tagline: “I’M A REAL DIRT BAG”.
With the e-commerce industry showing no signs of slowing, The Better Packaging Co. has given both buyers and businesses a way to enjoy online shopping without adding to their plastic problem. “I’m a big believer that everybody has a part to play,” Percasky says. “There’s so much power in the choices we make; they do make a difference. Every choice we make is either for the environment or a choice for the alternative.” And when it’s a vote for plastic or compostable packaging, it’s an easy decision to make.