North Face Steps Up To Responsibly Manage an Invisible Waste Stream


Photo credit: Jason Cartwright/Creative Commons

If you're like a lot of people these days, you know that avoiding plastic use is a good idea. You ditch the single serving water bottles for a good steel one. You choose paper rather than plastic. But did you know that many of your clothing purchases, use plastic that you never see - Even from the greenest of companies, like The North Face? It's an unseen environmental woe that consumers, at least directly, haven't been able to do something about.

Yes, so called "poly bags" (thin clear plastic bags) are frequently used, and often required by law, to protect apparel through distribution and transit. And in many places, resources to recycle them just don't exist in the area. 20 of The North Face's stores are in such areas. The North Face didn't want to just accept that. So they joined forces with us.

The result is the North Face Polybag Brigade. For The North Face, this closes a leak in their green efforts, giving new life to that which would have been invisible waste to consumers, but The North Face cares enough they want to be responsible stewards of their whole supply chain.

So what happens to these bags after we get them?

They're turned into, among other things plastic lumber, park benches, kitchen utensils and would you believe, bike racks? Who would have thought that an invisible source of waste could be turned into such a visible source of inventive reuse. One that can itself be sent back to us to again be reused!

In the first month of the launch of the The North Face Polybag Brigade, over 100,000 have been collected. As of today, you've sent in over 260,000 polybags. This is only the start. The lesson here is that we as businesses and as individuals cannot do everything on our own. By partnering together, leveraging all of our collective skills and network, we can together make a significant difference.

Readers: Where else have you seen unexpected opportunities for positive impact in business? Please share, below!
Read more about plastic waste:
How Much Plastic do Fish Ingest?
Ask Pablo: Are Plastic Bags Better After All?
Innovations for Fighting Plastic Waste

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