We kicked off our website sales/e-commerce operations in 2014 to serve riders across India vs just our bike shop in Bangalore. With increasing numbers of orders, packing was a bugaboo because of the amount of plastic that was required to ensure items arrive safely to the rider. A common concern in most e-commerce businesses. While the solution seemed quite simple – avoid plastic – it was actually not as simple.
Plastic is a fantastic option for multiple reasons
- Plastic is simple to use and can be easily stored for long periods of time
- Cheap compared to non-plastic alternatives
- It Weathers really well and is automatically waterproof
- Easy to pack and ship
- Easy to procure
- Well established in the supply chain business
- Quite resistant to abuse
- Easy to print on
- Looks good! So many colors
All reasons make it extremely hard to step away from using this material. Interestingly the above list of “pros” is also what makes plastic such a problem for the environment. Plastics are harmful polymers that don’t decompose and remain in the soil for hundreds of years. Massive floating plastic islands and micro-plastics in landfills and oceans are starting to be a huge problem as it’s all entering our food chain.
This year we decided to look into this with a simple goal of eliminating plastic where possible or at least look at reducing its consumption.
Steps we’ve taken
- paper-tape vs plastic brown tape
- recycled cardboard boxes vs fresh virgin cardboard
- minimal printing on paper/cardboard
- paper Hexcel wraps vs plastic bubble wrap
- avoid cling-wrap
- currently working with suppliers to replace our plastic pouches
Baby steps but we’re proud of this direction and we’re keen to see how we can keep this sustainable. It’s absolutely great to see the Indian government doing quite a bit in the last few years – from banning single-use plastic bags in most cities, and also encouraging businesses to think plastic-free.
A healthy society is critical for a successful nation. If you’re reading this, please do take the time to intentionally use less plastic when you’re out there.
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