The SeaHive Guide to Plastic-Free Packaging: Getting Your Factory to Package Plastic-Free

You’ve made your product. You’ve designed plastic-free packaging. Now it’s time to combine the two at your factory.

We needed to pack and ship 10,000 duffel bags from our factory in Vietnam. We were shipping some to our 3PL and some directly to consumers. Most high-end bags are shipped inside a plastic bag to protect it. A bag...in a bag. They might be further “protected” by air pockets, packing peanuts, or other filler. This strategy didn’t make a lot of sense to us so the first step was to design a box that would fit the Pakt One bag precisely without extra space. The only other thing inside was a brief educational insert calling out our plastic-free packaging. We sealed the deal with paper tape.

Tons of Pakt One bags in their SeaHive boxes.

Tons of Pakt One bags in their SeaHive boxes.

We knew how we wanted the final packaging to look so we went to our factory in Vietnam to hand off the directions in person. It was more about what not to include than what to put in the box. Factories are used to the status quo--plastic, plastic, plastic. We spoke with our factory’s manager, Claire, who translated all directions to workers.

“We need to make sure there is no plastic used in our packaging.”

“No poly bag?” asked Claire.

“No poly bag, no plastic tape, or any other plastic.”

“Ah, no plastic. Okay!” Claire then turned to her team to repeat the instructions in Cantonese and Vietnamese to make sure everyone in the room understood.

Left and Middle: SeaHive and Pakt founder Malcolm Fontier in Vietnam with Claire showing the packing steps on the packaging prototype.  Right: Claire making what became her signature “X” move

Left and Middle: SeaHive and Pakt founder Malcolm Fontier in Vietnam with Claire showing the packing steps on the packaging prototype.

Right: Claire making what became her signature “X” move

She made a huge “X” with her arms to signal that no plastic was to be involved at any stage in packing or shipping. Even though going plastic-free isn’t the norm right now, our factory was more than happy to comply and yours likely will be too if you spend the time to communicate how important it is to your brand.