HeapsGood sustainable packaging, launched in 2020, is a new packaging company providing a range of sustainable packaging options aimed specifically at the eCommerce market.
Focused on the core eCommerce requirement for mailers, tape and labels, HeapsGood provides a range of compostable alternatives to plastic packaging. With a focus on the evolution of the packaging industry, HeapsGood takes an honest view of their packaging solutions needing to evolve and constantly improve.
We caught up with HeadsGood founder Adam Sarfati to discuss the eCommerce packaging industry, and get guidance on how online retailers can begin to make their packaging solutions more sustainable.
What were your previous experiences of packaging waste in eCommerce? How did this influence you in starting HeapsGood Sustainable Packaging?
My brother and I both come from an eCommerce background. He more recently with a company called Threadheads, and then myself way back when online really took off in Australia with a company called Zazz.
All the online business’ we have been a part of handled distribution in-house. Obviously, this presents a range of benefits and problems but the main thing for us was being hands-on daily and seeing the amount of packaging materials (mostly plastic) used and the general lack of thought or care regarding the lifespan of these products.
This came together with Ace needing a more eco-friendly packaging alternative for Threadheads and myself looking for a new challenge. The concept of being able to sell a product that actually had tangible sustainability benefits was a driving factor for us. And so, we created HeapsGood Packaging.
What advice would you give to an online retailer considering a ‘sustainable’ packaging option today?
You’re not doing it for yourself per say. You’re doing it for your customers, the flow-on effect being how they view you as a company. If you’re not conscious of being sustainable as a company today you simply will not survive as a business in the future.
Making those changes now puts you at the front of the pack rather than having to play catch up later on. The perfect analogy (We discussed on our call) is the position traditional bricks and mortar retailers that were reluctant to move online find themselves in now.
What are the main challenges and hurdles to overcome for an online retailer when trying to make packaging more sustainable?
Initially explaining to business how a more expensive product could actually increase loyalty and therefore profit margins. Understanding what all the certifications actually mean and working out which end of life solution fits best with their customer.
What are the main challenges with creating a truly ‘sustainable’ packaging product?
We don’t shy away from the fact that while our Ecomailers are a better alternative to plastic, they are not the perfect solution or end game. As a company we strongly believe that the use of single-use packaging products could eventually be accompanied by re-use packaging, in a sort of share economy setting.
We look at companies like Repack and what they are doing and think it’s a wonderful initiative. It’s unfortunate that our postal system did not have the foresight to partner with such a company but that’s something we would love to revisit in the future. Although it might not be viable in a country as large as Australia from a fuel and carbon point of view.
For now, we need to make sure that whatever we are using is not plastic-based and can ideally be composted at home first and foremost with industrial compostable items a close second. We also need to lobby our local councils strongly to speed up the build of industrial composting facilities around Australia and roll out the network to allow us to compost these items in all of our green bins Australia-wide. South Australia has taken the lead here and the rest of green bins.
What are the HeapsGood sustainable packaging products, and how do they differ from a regular jiffy bag?
Our main product offerings include Ecomailers, Ecolabels and Ecotape.
- Ecomailer is our flagship product, a home compostable, plant-based mailer. It allows online retailers and eCommerce brands to send their products without using plastic, which we identified as a key issue facing the industry.
- Ecolabels are the first compostable thermal label made in Australia. They’re the perfect companion for our mailers, as they don’t contain harmful residues like conventional labels.
- Ecotape is a bio-based sticky tape that acts as a substitute for plastic cellotape. It’s just a fantastic all-round product. Hand tearable, twice the length of a standard roll, and works in a dispenser or gun-like standard tape.
We’ll also be introducing heaps of new products in February that solve various problems our customers have faced when sending their eCommerce products. We’re pretty excited to roll them out.
As a predominantly single-use product, controlling the exact end-of-life is out of your hands. What issues does this present for HeapsGood sustainable packaging?
It’s certainly something we are very aware of and while over 30% of Australians do have compost bins the onus is on the consumer to dispose of the bags correctly at the end of the day. Education plays a big part (and we do our best here with blogs and plan to do a lot more) as does making the process a simple and easy one like the South Australian government has done.
Removing the red tape and confusion and allowing these compostable products in all green bins in a unified manner rather than a council-by-council basis is the fastest way forwards. Either way, we believe our product beats the conventional plastic mailer without controlling exact end-of-life, but no doubt composting is key to optimising the efficacy of our packaging solutions.
Where do you see the future of eCommerce packaging?
Consumers, regulation, and other forces are rapidly transforming the packaging landscape. Australia and New Zealand have been leading this worldwide movement for some time now.
There are new Australian plastic packaging laws arriving in 2025, China is phasing out single-use plastic and many businesses are starting to develop innovative solutions in response.
Consumers, too, are starting to push the trend. Only in the last 5 years has the plastic packaging problem received so much media attention, and now the movement to take action is gathering momentum.
We believe that the future of packaging is compostable or re-usable or a combination of both. We’d link to think with the help of the wider community we can eliminate single-use plastic packaging for good.
Do you feel re-usable packaging is the future?
We do believe that’s the ultimate outcome for the planet and would love to help facilitate a move in that direction the way re-pack have in Europe although our particular market in Australia presents some challenges in regards to sheer size.
If yes, how do you feel consumers can be better educated/brought on board with the concept?
This is a tough one as it really needs to start with the governments. There is a little bit of the chicken and the egg scenario which is similar to what we are seeing with our products in that the infrastructure to support such a product exists but is in its infancy. The real issue with the return items is it would rely on the monopoly that is Australia post to service it. Without their support I cant see a product like that working in Australia.
Full information of HeapsGood Sustainable Packaging can be found at https://heapsgoodpackaging.com.au/
Further Reading: Plastic vs Compostable Packaging: Which Is Better for the Environment? Read more