Imagine this: If a small business ships, on average, 10 orders a day, it can prevent the size of two championship-sized tennis courts worth of plastic from entering landfill or our oceans. One small business making 10 orders a day produces about 367.5 square metres of packaging waste every year.
The sheer impact of eradicating plastic from online retailers in their shipping process, is set to grow even bigger as Hero Packaging founders Anaita Sarker and Vik Dave set their sights on global expansion.
Anaita says, “Online retail is growing exponentially fast as a side effect of Covid, and we believe e-commerce packaging is a serious key issue that is flying under the radar simply because the volume of online retail packaging is not as visible as the use of plastic in physical retail stores, restaurants and supermarkets. So that’s where we’ve decided to focus our energy: on the packaging and shipping processes of small to large e-commerce businesses.”
Vik adds, “We have learnt along the way that recycling is not enough. 90% of plastics and food scraps end up in landfill, and in that environment, they produce methane which is a deadly enemy of our planet. So we decided to specialise in mailers that were certified home compostable, but also made from such materials that if they ended up in landfill, they would still break down with no micro plastics and no waste.”
HEROPACKs are now Australia’s favourite home compostable shipping mailers and Hero is taking its missing further abroad to manufacture and promote brilliant plastic-free mailing solutions worldwide.
Thanks to a huge ongoing investment in product innovation, Hero Packaging are also proud to launch its latest zero-waste star AQUAHERO™. The earth-saving plastic replacement is a clear garment bag that looks and functions like the plastic version but is amazingly able to be dissolved in hot water in just 30 seconds!
Hero Packaging is Australia’s first Australian owned and certified retail compostable company and have just celebrated their four year anniversary.
With over 45,000 customers, their bigger clients include Cue, Veronica Maine, Beginning Boutique, Birdsnest, Papinelle, Apero Label, Ripcurl, ZaneRobe, Studs, Piping Hot, Moana Bikini and the West Tigers.
Hero Packaging was created after their first e-commerce business entailed them shipping over 80-100 products a day in plastic. The real cherry on top of the plastic pie was when their two girls were in their office during the school holidays and were sitting amongst a pile of plastic, playing with the bubble wrap. Horrified at the volume of plastic waste they were creating, the couple resolved to find a better solution. They Googled alternatives to plastic mailers but the only solution they could find was paper-based packaging. It was a great idea, but not waterproof so it wouldn’t work for their products, hence the birth of Hero Packaging.
Anaita says, “During our research, we had come across companies across the world doing amazing things for sustainability (like turning pineapple leaves into leather!), but there wasn’t a single eco-friendly solution to replace plastic shipping mailers. From that moment, we were on a mission to meet that gap. And after testing a bazillion different materials, we found a material that was compostable, but also waterproof, super durable, and acted like plastic in the shipping process but would break down in a compostable environment.”
Thanks to the founders’ digital marketing savvy and Hero Packaging’s huge social media presence the brand quickly found success in its zero-waste niche.
“We’ve got the biggest range of compostable mailers – possibly in the world at this point,” says Anaita. “The advantage is in the customisability of our products. We’re always adding new colours and we partner with our brands to customise limited edition mailers to suit their needs. Most of all, our product development is on-going. We’re definitely keeping up with what’s happening in the market so we can continue to improve and offer a better product range.”
Of their US expansion Anaita says, “Our aim is to grow the business as much as possible and the US market presents a lot of opportunities for growth.”
To date, the company has been able to scale up operations in North America due to its successful crowdfunding efforts through digital platform Equitise. The enthusiastic response from global investors which include investors from the business community and customers of Hero packaging have raised $1.5 million in capital. The funds will be used to tap into the US market in sustainable packaging, which is less mature than Australia’s. Currently the US ecommerce market is worth $800 billion, but with few options for eco-friendly shipping solutions, there are huge opportunities for Hero Packaging to gain market share.
Vik is confident Hero Packaging will gain traction in the US market due to global consumer preferences for more eco-friendly options: “A few years back, we might have been called dreamers, but the success of Hero Packaging speaks for itself. Everywhere people are pushing for more sustainability and its proven we don’t have to compromise our values to accomplish our goals. We think all markets have room to make plenty of changes that won’t hit their bottom line but can make a world of difference. We want to send a strong message that sustainability is the best way to move forward.”