Impact

One Year with Less Packaging

August 31, 2020

Roya Shariat, Social Impact Manager

In the summer of 2019, we launched a new, more sustainable option for our customers: the ability to select “Less Packaging” at checkout and opt-out of the pink pouch and any packaging extras. One year later, nearly half a million Glossier orders have shipped with reduced packaging! As part of our ongoing commitment to sharing more about our sustainability efforts, we want to take you behind-the-scenes on how this idea came to life. 

From Glossier’s launch in 2014 up until the introduction of less packaging, every Glossier order came packed in our iconic pink pouches, which serve two main purposes: 

  1. The pouch protects products from getting damaged in transit (essential for a digital-first brand)

  2. The pouch becomes a keepsake for customers to reuse in various, creative ways (from storing their Glossier products to everything from stethoscopes and sewing supplies!) 

While the pink pouch serves an important protective role in transit and takes the place of necessary packing material, we started to get feedback from customers who either didn’t need additional pink pouches, or were interested in reducing their packaging footprint overall. At the same time, we didn’t want to eliminate the pouch entirely, as we hear from customers every day who enjoy finding new, and often creative, uses for theirs. We decided the most important thing was giving customers the ability to choose. 

After poring through customer feedback, we decided that the alternative to our traditional packaging should be as minimal as possible. This meant allowing customers to opt out of the pink pouch, as well as any other packaging extras like seasonal stickers. We also permanently discontinued our “sticker sheets” as part of this effort. 

Bringing this new option to life involved collaboration across Operations, Packaging, Quality, Creative, and Tech. First and foremost, we needed to find a sustainable and protective option that could take the place of the pink pouch. We explored various filler options (“dunnage” is the industry term), including shredded paper, paper pouches, and biodegradable peanuts. We tested them by shipping our most fragile products, in over 30 different order combinations and sizes, to ensure packages arrived safely. We ultimately landed on something simple, effective and easily recyclable — thick paper sheets that are wrapped around the products to keep them safe in transit.

We also wanted to make selecting this option as easy as possible for customers. We introduced a simple checkbox during the checkout experience, allowing anyone to  select “Less Packaging” and opt out of the pink pouch and packaging extras. 

When we launched this option, we weren’t sure what to expect in terms of adoption. We’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm our customers have shown for this option and have been surprised to see so many first-time Glossier customers choose less packaging at check-out — 36% of all orders with less packaging come from new customers! In the U.S., our less packaging option is most popular in California, New York, and Texas.

What’s next? We’re continuing to explore new ways to evolve our shipping materials with sustainability in mind. Last week, we launched a recyclable padded mailer that’s more lightweight than our existing options for our customers in the US + Canada (it’s already launched in Europe) — these mailers will be able to accommodate a significant proportion of Glossier orders. And while some of these changes might sound small, they ultimately make a real impact on reducing our footprint. 

Sustainability is an ongoing journey at Glossier, and we’re excited to keep sharing our process, progress and learnings with all of you.