prAna and Other Apparel Brands Are Starting a Movement for Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging looks good on this sweater.
Sustainable packaging looks good on this sweater. / prAna
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Even if your cat or toddler can entertain themselves for hours with the packing materials that came with your new sweater, all that unnecessary waste may still weigh heavily on your mind.

Recycling is always a good idea, but it would be better if companies found more eco-friendly ways to ship products in the first place, right? A fashion brand called prAna thinks so, too. Since its inception in 1992, prAna has always been committed to producing sustainable apparel made from organic or recycled materials; the founders even sent their first shipments in old fruit boxes. As the organization grew, however, they gave in to the convenience of plastic packaging. And after a retail manager asked the corporate office what to do with the piles of empty poly bags, they knew they had to find a better solution. They started by cutting down on poly bags (those single-use sleeves that garments are often sealed in when you order them online). In the last decade, they’ve kept more than 17 million out of their packing and distribution processes.

Glassine is a much more sustainable—and recyclable—material than plastic.
Glassine is a much more sustainable—and recyclable—material than plastic. / prAna

And this week, prAna launched the Responsible Packaging Movement, an initiative that encourages other fashion brands to join them in shifting to more sustainable packaging. prAna itself is planning to cut all plastic from consumer packaging by next year, and is also working on eliminating materials sourced from endangered and old-growth forests. Along the way, the company will devise webinars, resource guides, roundtable discussions, and more to help other brands make changes, too. So far, Mara Hoffman, Outerknown, and Toad&Co have all joined the movement, and other brands can find out how to do so here.

“As a sustainability leader in the apparel industry, we have always looked beyond our products to use our business as a platform for good,” Rachel Lincoln, prAna’s director of sustainability, said in a press release. “We are so excited to launch this movement to bring people together with a platform to share knowledge.”

Was this prAna dress packaged in plastic? No.
Was this prAna dress packaged in plastic? No. / prAna

While you might not have your own clothing brand, you can still support the Responsible Packaging Movement by making sure you’re buying your products from companies committed to sustainability. And outside the world of online shopping, here are 15 other ways to reduce your carbon footprint.