7 Sustainable And Zero Waste Packaging Ideas for Clothes

Carla Jonas Monday, 5 April 2021

We all know how important it is to buy clothes that are meant to last and to follow the principles of slow fashion. But it is also essential to realise that packaging accounts for almost one-third of consumer waste, making it critical that we take packaging into account when making purchases. Fortunately, things are starting to change. Sustainable packaging, meaning materials that can be recycled, reused, or made from easily renewable sources, is becoming more common. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for gifts for others, you can take steps to reduce your carbon footprint. Read on to learn about seven innovative ideas for zero-waste apparel packaging.

Guest post from Carla Jonas; Carla Jonas is a content writer and editor at top high-quality pearl retailer The Pearl Source. Passionate about everything jewellery, decor and fashion-related, Carla is ready to bring you the latest on what to wear, hot trends, style tips and more.


1. Versatile Cardboard

An outstanding choice for sustainability, corrugated cardboard packaging is highly versatile as it can be moulded into virtually any shape. Whether you’re looking to ship tiny items like a single pair of stud earrings or vast quantities of jeans, corrugated cardboard has a distinct environmental advantage over other types of boxes. It is usually made from recycled paper, can be reused, and is 100% recyclable. Its strength also protects delicate contents such as drop earrings or other breakables.

Image source: biodegradablecompostablebags.com

2. Potable Garment Bags

Several types of biodegradable replacements for garment bags are now on the market, including one from TAGMA Designs created from cassava starch, a root vegetable that breaks down naturally in just a few months’ time. Don’t want to wait that long? You can dissolve the bag on the spot with a glass of hot water and drink it. TAGMA Designs also offers carbon-neutral shipping by tracking emissions and purchasing offsets.

Image source: Imgur.com

3. High-Tech (& Earth-Loving) Packing

One of the biggest things that gets wasted when shipping items is space. Several companies have found innovative solutions to reduce this wasted space including Packsize and PakFactory. Both offer custom packaging solutions to save on shipping, logistics, and the all-important cost. Packsize uses sophisticated technology to assess the dimensions of a product and create the smallest package possible. This system also eliminates the need for fillers, further reducing waste. PakFactory makes sustainability a primary goal by creating packaging that is eco-friendly, recyclable, and minimally wasteful. PakFactory also takes part in the One Order One Tree initiative in which a tree is planted for each order received.

4. The Magnificent Multifunctional Mushroom

An exciting plant-based alternative to standard packaging is a polystyrene substitute made from mushrooms. Mushroom roots are mixed with farming by-products, such as cotton hulls and corn husks that would otherwise be discarded, and then placed into a mould. The mushrooms consume the agricultural waste and grow into the shape of the mould. The resulting material is sturdy, flexible, and 100% biodegradable.

5. Terribly Clever Cardboard

Whether you normally toss the box the day you buy new kicks or hang onto it with the intention of finding a good use for it, we all know how wasteful shoe boxes can be. The Clever Little Bag by Puma uses 65% less cardboard than a standard shoe box. It replaces the material with a reusable bag and a flat-pack cardboard tray to provide structure, and that wasteful sheet of tissue paper is gone too. This innovated packing method reduces energy, water, and petroleum consumption by over 60% each year! The recyclable bag also eliminates the need for a carrier bag to take your purchase home.

Image source: beyonddesignchicago.com

6. Plantable Packaging

Another eco-friendly packaging idea made by several company is seed paper, a biodegradable material made from 100% post-consumer paper and manufactured with zero waste. Best of all? The boxes come embedded with plant seeds. Simply place in shallow soil and watch your eco-consciousness grow!

7. Go Naked

One final option we all have when shopping is to bring our own carrier bags. Whether you use ones made from recycled or biodegradable materials doesn’t matter; any bag counts as recycled when you reuse it. Keep a few in your car or handbag so you’re always prepared. Every little bit counts.


To learn more abouot eco-friendly packaging options for your business, check out our full Masterclass on the topic: Eco-Friendly Packaging For Your Sustainable Brand. You'll find lessons from:

EcoEnclose - understanding biodegradability

Rewrap - fabric wrap

TIPA - compostable packaging

Biohm - using biomimicry to create new solutions

Mango Materials - bioplastics grown from waste gas

Maggie Marilyn - case study of a brand with eco-packaging implemented

Matrix of eco-packaging suppliers