At Goodhood, we believe climate change is one of the most pressing concerns the world faces. As such, we are building our company ideals around reducing our carbon footprint and the amount of waste we produce. Our sustainable mission: To Reduce, Re-use and Recycle.
As part of our buying strategy, we have always undertaken a goal of buying well made, quality clothing and goods. Quality is one of the fundamentals we look for when selecting items or choosing to work with a brand. We exist on the perimeter of the fashion industry and avoid arbitrary trends, instead looking for products that resonate with our customers and are influenced by the flow of culture. We believe these products are more meaningful and will have a longer lifespan. When selecting products we are looking for future classics. We want to identify pieces that people will be happy having in their wardrobes for life, rather than being outdated in 6 months. Over the years we have grown a group of discerning customers that understand the principles and pricing of genuine quality clothing. Our goal is to always buy pieces that have longevity in their aesthetics and production. We encourage our customers to buy better and buy less.
We are based in East London, and as such every employee comes to work by foot, bicycle or public transport. We use bicycles to go between our different locations with our warehouse being under 1.5 miles away from our store and head office.
Bulb is the UK’s biggest supplier of green energy and they power our entire business. Bulb provide us with 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon neutral gas. Read more about Bulb and their approach here: https://bulb.co.uk/
Recycling & Waste Management
First Mile manage our waste across the entire business. At our warehouse in the last year, we have recycled 5000kg of cardboard and 4125kg of mixed recyclables, compared to 1500kg of general waste. First Mile are able to collect, separate and recycle accordingly. They use carbon neutral low energy trucks to collect and have a zero to landfill policy which means anything they can’t recycle is used to produce energy.
We use DPD to deliver all our online orders, and they are committed to making every parcel they send carbon neutral. They do this by measuring their carbon output and offsetting it through working with EcoAct to support projects in renewable and cleaner energy production. They are active in trying to reduce pollution in cities by introducing innovative solutions that improve first-time delivery successes by giving people a greater choice in how they receive their parcels.
Over the last year we have been working hard to develop our packaging for a multitude of reasons, but our main concern was to re-evaluate our use of plastics. We worked closely with an MBA student from the University of Exeter and consulted packaging suppliers to help us find the right packaging for our business needs, that would reflect our environmental responsibility goals.
On looking at our carrier and mailer bag design we stumbled into a real societal problem. The media attention that David Attenborough’s Blue Planet rightly gave to the issue of plastic in our oceans created momentum for the reduction of plastics. We looked at our packaging materials and immediately reduced the amount of plastic we were using, getting rid of an internal plastic film bag that acted as an inner protective layer for products, while reviewing all our other packaging.
Our intuition was to get rid of plastic completely but after a lot of research and speaking to industry experts we started to see another problem. There was concern in the industry that a knee jerk reaction to plastic might create a new and worse problem. The plastics problem was not with production, but with its disposal and management. The oceans plastic problem is documented as coming from countries where waste disposal is so poor that rubbish is tipped into rivers, eventually making its way to the ocean. Plastic waste needs to be reduced where possible but for the most part it’s handling it correctly.
After researching into other packaging alternatives we started to see that the issue isn’t so black and white. In terms of carbon footprint it is recorded that a paper bags carbon footprint is four times worse than the plastic equivalent. Going plastic free is not always the best solution for the environment. Plastics often have a lower carbon footprint, are lighter to transport and are better at their job. It is a case of there being many environmental issues and no one solution supports all issues and we feel carbon emissions is our focus.
On looking at the alternatives the research on bio-disposal materials was dubious. Research clearly shows that if not disposed of correctly they emit more harmful emissions, thus creating a new worse problem. When testing paper equivalents we found them to be susceptible to cuts and holes when going through the courier handling system. This can damage the product inside which would then become waste and ultimately does not serve our business and customer needs.
THE CURRENT SOLUTION
We have recently launched our new online packaging which is made out of a high-quality recyclable grade 4 plastic, LDPE. They’re strong enough to last and be reused. Due to their strength, there is no need for an inner plastic or paper liner, so your item will arrive to you in minimal packaging but with maximum protection.The bags are reusable and can be sealed to store, protect and aid the longevity of your garments at home or when travelling. Our carrier bags instore are also made of LDPE, and are intended to be reused by our customers.
Research shows that only 17% of British councils recycle films like LDPE, even though they can be recycled easily. This number is not good enough, and we encourage the Government to intervene with local councils everywhere to improve their recycling capabilities.
First Mile provide us with flexible plastic sacks in which we can confidently recycle our LDPE carrier and mailer bags. If you cannot, or do not want to reuse the bags then you can dispose of them responsibly at a recycling centre, or send them back to us and we can re-use or recycle them. We are currently exploring cost effective ways to allow our customers to return the mailer bag to us, and hope to launch this as soon as possible.
Time will see if this is a success, but we believe it is the best solution available to us at this moment in time. We will be reviewing our packaging regularly and taking steps to improve our mailers when the options become available to us. We are also currently testing our mailer bags being made out of recyclate and will take steps to integrate them into our packaging materials.
While it’s impossible to do everything, small changes over a long period create change, which is why we're constantly looking for ways to rethink and reuse, building a better environment step by step.