Small Changes, Big Impact: Greener Packaging

In our previous article, we discussed the sustainability checklist, the foundation for our initial sustainability efforts at Quantum Sails. In this piece, we’ll look at what we’ve done to make our packaging more eco-friendly and sustainable. We know it’s not a particularly exciting topic. Still, our product requires us to move heavy and bulky materials across the globe, at a high frequency and volume, from our manufacturing facilities to our Lofts and from our Lofts to our customers. So, while these changes might seem small because of their scale, they have a big impact.

We had to change Quantum’s packaging to have the desired impact, balancing the need for durable materials to get our sails to our customers in pristine condition with how materials affect the planet and how they can be broken down and recycled.

Here’s how we got there:

1. Quantum Green badge:

We know this isn’t technically a “packaging” change, but it is an important step that has enabled us to bring attention to the fact that the item you have in your hand has a sustainability component. Whether it’s denoting a sail made of recycled water bottles or a reminder that the packaging doesn’t belong in the garbage, all of our packing labels carry this badge and highlight the “Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle” message.

2. Recycled and Recyclable packaging:

Quantum’s packaging now consists of corrugated boxes that are easily recycled and bags that are made of recycled plastic and recyclable.  We have not yet been able to avoid plastic bags entirely, and recycled plastic makes more sense than biodegradable plastic due to the difficulty in proper disposal (biodegradable plastic can only disintegrate in a compost treatment facility under specific conditions, and it cannot be placed in standard recycling).  Instead, the plastic bags we chose to use are made entirely from recycled plastic and are fully recyclable. 

3. Water-activated paper tape:

While water-activated paper packing tape is more expensive, its environmental benefits far outweigh the negatives. The water-activated tape itself is recyclable, which means that customers and Lofts do not have to remove it from corrugated boxes to make them recyclable—they can all go into recycling together! The tape is also more durable and robust, meaning we can use less each time. 

4. Packing label:

Packing labels are the first thing customers see when they receive a package from Quantum. With that in mind, we redesigned our label to support our sustainability initiatives. On the bottom of the label, we included the message “Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle” and added a new “Quantum Green” badge to encourage customers to reuse or dispose of the sail's packaging properly.  

5. Reuse of packaging in Lofts:

Just like we encourage customers to do, when new materials or sails arrive at one of our lofts, the packaging is not thrown away. Corrugated boxes are used for new shipments or storage at the loft, and plastic bags containing the product inside the box are generally reused as rubbish bags. We are trying to reduce the use of rubbish bags in our lofts and avoid using them whenever possible — repurposing the shipping bags, already made from recyclable material, helps cut down on additional waste.  

While our focus is always on sailmaking and performance, as part of our sustainability efforts, it is essential to examine the full manufacturing process, from design to delivery. Every step and adjustment toward a greener future matters. While the packaging is just one part of the picture, we’re proud to have implemented solutions that help reduce our environmental impact.

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