An update on our Eco Side

An update on our Eco Side

We've been making some changes behind the scenes. So, we wanted to give you an update...

With nature at the heart of our inspiration and drive, we feel a profound responsibility to hold ourselves accountable, build an authentic business, and recognise our environmental and social impact. We are passionate about doing what is good for our planet – or trying to at least.

From the beginning, we’ve planted a tree for every order. This now comes as standard for us and it’s great to see more brands and businesses doing this too. 

We’ve also had a focus on reducing plastic waste, reducing the use of virgin polyester and non-organic cotton, and instead using recyclable, biodegradable, or recycled materials where possible. We don’t think it’s possible to run a ‘sustainable’ fashion brand, but we are striving to do as much as we can to limit the negative impact we have on our planet and protect what it is we love.  

Here’s a more in-depth update on some things we’ve been working on…

Changes to our packaging…

It’s impossible to ignore the horrifying impact that plastic waste is having on our oceans, landscapes, and wildlife. We’ve all seen the photos of tonnes of plastic waste washing up on beaches around the world, sometimes ruining world-class surf breaks and heritage sites.

One major change we have made in the past 12 months is switching from biodegradable plastic mailing bags to fully recyclable and biodegradable paper mailing bags. 

paper mailing bag

While paper is a great replacement for plastic, it is also important that the paper we use is responsibly sourced and is not contributing to the major issue of deforestation. To ensure this, all the paper we use is FSC Certified.

While the environmental impact of our packaging has been important to us, it is also our priority to ensure that your orders arrive safely and in good condition. If they don’t, it not only means disappointment for our customers but also increases the carbon emissions per order through increased returns.

Currently, we still pack individual products in biodegradable plastic bags. You can easily dispose of these in your household compost bin. From here, your local council can take them to compost facilities where they will be broken down much quicker than in traditional landfill. 

This is a much better alternative than standard plastic bags, which take up to 20 years to break up. However, some of our bags are still manufactured with an oil-based polymer and produce carbon dioxide in the degrading process. We are therefore working on an alternative paper-based product packaging method to replace these biodegradable plastic bags.

To be totally honest, even though we have implemented positive changes to our packaging, it doesn’t always go to plan. We are human. We have made mistakes in the past and will continue to make mistakes in the future, but we are committed to correcting those mistakes when they happen. 

To give an example, we made a small mistake over the Christmas period. Our paper mailing bags have a glue seal on them, which secures them closed. For a few days, the weather was extremely cold. This had an effect on the glue seal of the paper bags, which were stored in our warehouse, meaning the glue didn’t really stick! 

We were then forced to use plastic tape to ensure the packages were thoroughly sealed. This tape was not recycled, biodegradable, or recyclable, which we are sorry about. We did manage to source a good paper tape alternative after a few days, which fixed that problem. 

Focusing on recycled materials…

We have had an exciting new product range in development for a while now. This will launch in the spring and we are focused on ensuring the materials we use to create new products are of the best quality and have the lowest environmental impact possible.

Currently, we use recycled polyester fabric and organic cotton in our Venture Collection, which is also printed using water-based inks. Our Nordic Robe collection is also made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles for the external and internal fabric. The only thing that isn’t recycled is the zips, but we’re working on that.

Venture Collection Eco Specifications.

Our Adrift, Fleece, and accessories ranges are currently not recycled or organic. However, we have been working hard for the past 18 months to change this and we are excited to be launching a new collection this spring that will bring about a big change to our non-recycled polyester usage. 

There will always be more we can do. For now, we're focused on making sure that every decision we make with our new product development is the right one with the information we have from our research at that time. 

There is continual technological advancement in materials and production processes that are more efficient and less harmful to the environment. New research on the best strategies to improve supply chains and the fashion industry are being released on a more regular basis. 

This means we have to be prepared to adapt and change as new thinking and options become available. We recognise that what we have done in the past may not be the best path for the future and look forward to keeping you updated on this as the journey continues.

Bleubird in Malawi

Bleubird in Malawi project.

One of the biggest and most exciting projects we have been working on over the past couple of years is Bleubird in Malawi.

This is a project that we manage ourselves as we work closely with the Team at Mulanje Mission Hospital. It is challenging and takes up a lot more resources than just donating cash, but we are so excited to see the direct impact that our community’s purchases have contributed so far.

Seeing the first hand results and the benefit for the people in the Mulanje area is super rewarding and we are really excited about what is yet to come with this. 

Our previous blog for our take on ‘Black Friday’ focuses more on the details of the work we are supporting in Malawi. You can read that here, but if you want a quick recap…

One of the most common cooking methods used by families in Mulanje is the ‘Three Stone Fire’. This method has been used for centuries and not only uses a significant amount of wood (around three to four bundles each week) but is also incredibly dangerous and has many detrimental health impacts.

Working with a team from Mulanje Mission Hospital, we are helping families in this region switch to the much safer and more efficient Changu Changu Moto (Fast Fast Fire) Cookstove developed by Ripple Africa.

In comparison to the Three Stone Fire, the Changu Changu Moto Cookstove uses only one bundle of wood per week. Therefore reducing household wood use by 66%.

The Changu Changu Moto Cookstove also keeps flames enclosed within the stove. Thus, making a much safer environment for families than the exposed flames of the Three Stone Fire.

These are only a few of the amazing benefits of the Changu Changu Moto Cookstove. We have set a target of building 3000 by the end of 2023.  

Get more info on Bleubird in Malawi here.

It’s a long road… 

This year, we are prioritising our communication around the Bleubird ‘Eco Side’. The good, the bad, and the sh*t that comes with it. We want to educate and inform our community on the industry we have found ourselves in and we want to ensure we do as much of the right thing as possible and share the learning from our mistakes. 

A quick one before we sign off. We’ve stopped describing our products and practises as ‘SUSTAINABLE’. You may find it in historic marketing from us, but as a team, we’ve decided against using it from now on. 

Our next blog in a few weeks will go into more detail on this. Keep your eyes peeled, it’ll be a good one.

Cheers, Friends! 

Siân, Matt & the Bleubird Team.

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