Saying goodbye to plastic and encouraging the reuse of bags

Opting for paper bags over plastic when receiving our purchases is the result of a greater environmental awareness that we have adopted as a society, which in turn has been motivated by specific actions by the stores that offer them. After saying a definitive goodbye to single-use plastic bags, Inditex takes on a greater challenge by promoting the reuse of paper bags in its sales, because, although these are considered a more ecological option, their production requires a great deal of effort.

The footprint behind the bags

He plastics problem single-use is that its impact not only damages the environment, but also human health, since They can take between 400 and 1,000 years to decompose.remaining in the environment for generations. Every year, around 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans, affecting more than 800 marine species. On the other hand, paper bags are a much more ecological alternative in the short term, but their production depends on natural resources such as wood and water, which could increase deforestation and pollution if their manufacture is carried out without an environmental plan to compensate for this situation. Faced with this situation, Inditex has made a commitment to promote the circular economy, launching various initiatives in its internal and external operations.

In 2019, the Group decided to eliminate all single-use plastic items that reach its customers. In this line, one of the first changes that was implemented was the elimination of plastic bags from its stores, using only recycled paper bags, envelopes and boxes in all its physical stores and in orders from its online store. This measure would later be joined by the charging of bags in Spain with the aim ofpromote its reuse and discourage the consumption of new packaging.

The company has also worked to eliminate unnecessary materials in items such as sock packaging and shirt support. Where this has not been possible, they have sought alternatives to plastic. In 2023, they managed to replace all single-use plastics that reached the customer, eliminating 95% of their weight. In total, the company has developed and incorporated into its operations more than 60 new applications, This involves a continuous effort in terms of innovation to avoid the use of single-use plastics in new product lines, in suppliers and other Group operations.

Some other examples include new fillings for bags and shoes, the use of straw paper as a protective element, the use of paper ties or obtaining the label (the string that attaches the label to the garment) from used hangers (the hangers are reused many times and those that are no longer used are crushed to obtain this piece).

Promoting new habits

At the end of 2021, Inditex launched bag fees in Spain with the aim ofto promote their reuse and discourage the consumption of new packaging. Thanks to this measure, the textile group has managed to reduce the consumption of new paper bags by 47% in the more than 70 markets in which it has implemented this initiative.

Another of the projects that the multinational has been implementing is known as #BringYourBagthis has a second derivative and is that Inditex allocates the amount raised to promote environmental projects around the world. The selection of these initiatives is carried out in collaboration with various organizationsenvironmental,with the aim of promoting the protection and restoration of ecosystems, preventing their degradation and advancing the use of regenerative production techniques.

Since the launch of the initiative, environmental projects have been launched in more than 20 countries by entities such as WWF – with whom the Group collaborates on nine ecosystem restoration projects around the world – or, an organization with which it works to improve the water network of various countries in Southeast Asia. Inditex has allocated the funds raised with its bags to «The Great People’s Forest»a Conservation International project to conserve and restore the Eastern Himalayan region. Hosting one-twelfth of the world’s biodiversity, this ecosystem spans mountains, valleys, plains and deltas in India, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The initiative aims to plant one billion trees and restore one million hectares, benefiting both the environment and one billion people who live in these environments and depend on this ecosystem for a decent life.