Slash Packaging

April 2020 · 2 minute read

Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. To celebrate I brought together 30 ecommerce companies to launch slashpackaging.org, a movement to make packaging information accessible to all. I hope you will join too.

Most websites have a /about page, Slash Packaging is a growing directory of businesses that have a /packaging page.

A /packaging page is a place to share with your customers how your company approaches packaging. This is where you can explain your packaging philosophy, material choices, certifications, disposal instructions, progress to date, and how you hope to improve in the future.

Why should you have a /packaging page?

Consumers are looking for this information. We as a business community need to make it easy to find. Standardizing around the /packaging URL helps set the expectation that packaging information is available from companies that make thoughtful choices about sustainability.

Packaging waste is one of the most important issues of our time. Every year, tens of millions of tons of packaging are being landfilled in the US alone. Non-renewable resources are being extracted at unprecedented rates and polluting our most beautiful natural habitats from our beaches to the top of our tallest mountains. 50 years after the first Earth Day, it feels more pressing than ever to consider this issue — and its broader implications for climate change — an existential threat to humanity.

Consumers want to be part of the change. They want to support companies that are making sustainable packaging a priority, but can't find them. They want to correctly dispose of your packaging, but don't have the instructions. They are rethinking their own patterns of consumption but have never encountered your business model before.

I know this, because as the co-founder of Lumi, I speak to companies every day who are hearing this from their customers. The best companies are the ones that listen — and those companies are shifting their priorities. Yet, many times the supply chain and design teams behind these efforts, feel they go unrecognized.

I believe this is a discovery and matchmaking problem. We can solve it by standardizing access to the information.

Slash Packaging is about progress not perfection

Making packaging sustainable is hard. We need to recognize that our society is addicted to patterns of consumption that are not aligned with the long term health of our planet.

Too often, however, those of us who care about sustainability are critical of efforts that don't go far enough — and that can be incredibly counterproductive. We need to support the people and companies who are making meaningful progress in the right direction, even if they have a long way to go.

In my conversations with leaders who are joining Slash Packaging, I heard some ask if they should wait to publish a /packaging page when their new sustainable packaging initiatives launch. The answer is simple — no. There will not be a magical time in one year, two years or ten years, when your packaging is perfectly sustainable. You will always be working on sustainability improvements to your packaging. When you sign up to sell products, you sign up to keep improving them. If you are reading this, you are probably doing better than most other companies in the world, be proud of that. Share the fact that you are still working on it. Your transparency will build trust.

We have so much to learn together about how to make this monumental structural change. The best practices are always evolving. We need to learn together, and we need to be open about the learning process, so that we can all get better faster.

Join Slash Packaging

Big things can have small beginnings. The story of Earth Day itself is a great example that inspired me to start Slash Packaging.

If you're reading this and working at company that uses packaging, join the movement — all you have to do is add a /packaging page to your website with information about your packaging.

Here is a showcase of ideas from the pioneering members on how to create your own.

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