Sustainable & Ethical Swimwear Packaging

Find out why we care so much about the journey your swimsuit takes from our studio to you in our eco-friendly packaging.

When we set up Usual Objections we had no idea how much there was to packaging. We had a vague idea that it seemed like quite a big topic but as with most things it was only when we started to dig a bit deeper that we really started to understand.

We take a lot of care in the making of each garment. Making our packaging in a responsible and ethical way is just as important to us as making ethical swimwear.

When we fold the finished swimsuit and place it carefully into it's glassine paper bag it's symbolic of the care we take all through the process.

Usual Objections Box Logo

Subtle logo debossed into Japanese rice style embossed paper

Our packaging philosophy

There is no plastic in any of our packaging. That seemed like a good start.

We also tried to look at the whole lifecycle of our packaging - not just the end of life which is where the focus tends to be. The environmental and social impact stretches right from the beginning - from if the trees are from managed forests, are the dyes/inks sustainable, do the workers have rights etc.

We racked our brains here trying to find good solutions to the problems with packaging. There isn’t always a black and white answer and so we wanted to let you know the logic behind our choices.

An order almost ready to go out!

Our London made boxes with a swimsuit in a glassine (paper) bag

Ethical sourcing & production

It all starts with finding the best suppliers.

We source as close to home as possible - this goes for our packaging but also everything else we source - from physical materials to services. We sincerely believe in supporting our local community and businesses. The bonus is that it also helps to reduce our carbon footprint.

Our box maker happens to be the oldest box maker in the UK. The craft has been in their family for 5 generations. They’re just a couple of miles south of us.

The paper we use for our boxes, swing tags, cards and envelopes doesn’t travel far either. They come from one of the oldest paper mills in the UK with a commitment to sustainable manufacturing processes.

The waxed cotton we use to attach the swing tags come from one of London’s finest haberdasheries founded in 1902!

All paper in our packaging is from FSC managed forests where possible. FSC is the Forest Stewardship Council - an international organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. The only certification that the WWF considers credible.

Apart from our boxes all our packaging is produced in-house which means we know it's produced as ethically and as sustainably as possible.

 

Reuse over recycling

We have tried to make our packaging nice enough and strong enough to be re-used when possible.

Recycling is great but It takes energy to recycle and this can often be from coal and other fossil fuelled powered energy. There is also a lack of certification with recycling centres abroad which means there’s no guarantee that the things you put in the recycling bin won’t actually end up in landfill.  

The boxes are very close to a standard A5 size so they can be used to hold postcards, pencils etc There is (what we think) an amazing illustration on the inside cover from a fellow swimmer.

We have limited use of swing tags etc - if you need product information you can check out the website.

The orange bag we provide to put your wet swimsuit into is made from the same fabric that they use for workwear on oil rigs etc It's not currently recycled but it's designed to last a very very long time.

If things do need to be recycled then we’ve also made this as straightforward as possible for the recycling plants.

We have kept colours to a minimum - while you can get eco-friendly inks the more colours you have the more polluting it is generally. Our paper is off-white rather than pure white as this uses less dyes and is less harmful to the environment than pure white paper or coloured paper in general.

 

Biodegradable vs compostible

There’s a lot of talk about bioplastics which seem to be a great solution as they behave like plastic (strong, durable, clear) but are made from renewable biomass sources, vegetable fats, corn-starch etc. But just like recycled papers use up fossil fuel resources, bioplastics require farmland which can be devastating to human and animal populations. Plus it still looks and feels like plastic - it just felt wrong.

So instead we use glassine bags, an eco-friendly alternative made from paper and recyclable.

Another plastic alternative we had to look at was the hygiene liner / sticker. We found a lovely UK supplier who is able to produce these on biodegradable paper with biodegradable adhesive. When you’re ready to commit you can just pop the sticker in your compost bin!

Reduce waste

Waste is not just what happens when you discard the used packaging you receive but also the waste that arises in production.

We have picked standard sizes for cards, boxes etc which means we keep the off-cuts to a minimum which means less stuff going to the recycling or the bin.

We also only make as many swing tags, postcards etc as we need. This means less waste as we don’t have things lying around that we don’t need anymore.

Apart from our boxes all our other assets like postcards, swing tags are made in house - we cut, we print. This means we don’t sit on lots of stock which means less waste. Any leftovers of paper, fabric and even food goes into the recycling bins!

 

CARBON FOOTPRINT

We don’t know exactly what the carbon footprint of our packaging is but it’s safe to say it’s much less than boxes made abroad and shipped over. Sourcing everything as close to home as possible may sometimes cost a bit more but keeps our carbon footprint on packaging as low as it can be. We're currently looking at ways to produce a fully carbon neutral swimsuit - including the packaging.