Why is RePack made of plastic?

RePack calls itself sustainable packaging but is made of plastic? Yes. From packaging design to durability, we tell you the RePack story.

What's wrong about plastic is the throw-away culture around it. RePack’s bags and boxes are made from recycled plastics due to durability and recyclability. Reusing the packaging as many times as possible minimizes the sustainability impact.

Polypropylene is, by far, the material that has best withstood all our tests and is therefore the one we have chosen.⠀

Just like a good suitcase, a RePack packaging will last years and handle dozens of trips all over the world.


What do you need from reusable packaging?

The mission of a package is to allow its contents to arrive safely. Our RePack bags are designed for soft goods, mainly clothing. In those cases, packaging mostly involves protecting against moisture, punctures, and tears.

Their material also has to be resistant to weather and UV. Because several dozens of reuse cycles are almost eight years of a frankly eventful life. And the longer they last, the better it is for the environment.

Finally, the packages are designed to be light and foldable for convenient returns and storage with the smallest possible impact.

Ten years of RePack design 

We started with a foldable cardboard box but very soon discovered the material is not suitable for reuse.

The cardboard boxes were followed by upcycled billboards, which looked nice before use. Too nice even, as our return rate dropped to unacceptable levels. People liked the bag so much that they wanted to keep it.

Billboards had another thing going against them too. It’s PVC and that is bad stuff.

Soon, upcycled event carpets followed before finally settling into the current material of choice - polypropylene (PP). Or “The blue Ikea bag” as most of us would call it. Later we managed to move to recycled PP.

Our project, packaging with a positive impact. (2)Our project, packaging with a positive impact. (1)

Reuse has many challenges, packaging being just one of them. While reusable packaging needs to carry a message and look apart, it can’t be too nice for people to keep it. Talk about a design balancing act!


Our packaging today

Today, RePack bags are made from post-waste recycled polypropylene (RPP).

Our supplier is the first company in the world to make fully certified fabrics from post-consumer recycled polypropylene (RPP).

Post-consumer means that the product you're using is garbage or waste that's been used by a consumer, disposed of, and diverted from landfills.

Our supplier recycles fridges, air conditioners, and food containers into a strong thread used to produce reusable RePacks.

Fridge Dump in Manchester
A fridge dump in Manchester. Photograph: Phil Noble/PA


RePack bags are produced in a way that meets our environmental and ethical standards. The material complies with the European REACH standard and is supplied with the Global Recycled Standard certification (GRS) and Oeko-Tex Standard 100.

The value chain of the fabrics is fully transparent and can be traced by blockchain technology. 


What next?

However we know that the plastic pollution problem is real, and we don't want to contribute to that more than necessary.

We continue to explore and innovate. Reusable packaging is just one step, reusable packaging made from renewable materials must follow. Join in our quest to discover new reuse opportunities and eradicate wasteful packaging for good.


Header illustration by Nic Mac


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