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Responsible Packaging Moves Forward as an Industry Standard


Anyone visiting a ski shop during the Fall season has witnessed piles of product packaging leftover from recently unwrapped inventory. “It’s like a powder day of plastic,” commented Peter Arlein, founder/CEO of the Colorado-based firm mountainFLOW eco-wax. “If we knew that packaging was recyclable or biodegradable it would make a huge difference.”

Strides in responsible packaging are being made with small brands in the outdoor sports arena encouraging big change. Stated Arlein, “Everyone should look at this seriously; Sustainability should run through everything we do, from product to packaging.” Nick Pascoe, product manager of Utah-based DPS Skis, adds, “If we want to be skiing in the future we need to think about the environment. Packaging is a core component. Retailers and consumers do care about this.”

In a recent Snowsports Industries America (SIA) webinar focused on how eco packaging should become an industry-standard, Alien, Pascoe and moderator Aaron Keller, founding partner of Minneapolis-based design firm Capsule, discussed challenges, best practices, and opportunities that climate-friendly packaging presents.

For example, packaging should be sustainable but it needs to be durable. “If skis, poles or bindings are damaged in transit because of poor packaging that's a problem,” explained Pascoe. “If our product is more durable from the get go, then we can walk back on the packaging. We let the product do the talking and let packaging support the product.”

The panelists agreed that industry needs to shed more light on the topic of package disposability because confusion, in addition to greenwashing regarding recyclability, compostability and biodegradability, has made for fraught conversation. “It’s a murky topic right now,” stated Pascoe.

MountainFLOW uses paper packaging that can be composted, recycled and is biodegradable for its ski wax. DPS Ski’s Phantom products feature a circular packaging system, while apparel is shipped in a 100 percent recycled mailer.

Going forward, the execs agreed that with more brands collaborating and market competition advancing innovation, eco will be a win for all.