Elephants’ pick: innovative brands leading the way with sustainable packaging

At Elephants Can’t Jump, sustainability is an issue close to our hearts – we explored how brands can do more to step up to the challenge in our Sustainabulletin series last year.

This past month, we have had the pleasure of conducting research into consumer attitudes towards sustainable packaging solutions. 

As consumers become ever more conscious about the environment and the importance of buying sustainably, brands are looking for innovative ways to be greener. Developing sustainable packaging solutions is a critical way to take steps towards achieving this, especially for FMCG brands. 

Here are eight brands that we think should be celebrated for their innovation in sustainable packaging:


Organic fruit and veg delivery company, Riverford, was the first in the UK to replace plastic netting with compostable beech wood nets. These are made from beech tree wood which is broken down into a pulp and spun into string. As the nets are biodegradable, consumers can simply put them on their compost heap or in their council’s compost bin. This is a great step towards reducing the multitude of plastic that we unfortunately see in fruit and veg packaging.  

Cycle Of Good

Cycle of Good is home to the famous Elephant Bike and also produces quality goods handcrafted in Malawi using locally printed cloth and recycled materials like your old bicycle inner tubes.

They train tailors in the world’s poorest places so they can earn a decent living and support their families. All the money made pays for childcare and non-profit social enterprise in Malawi.

Boxed Water

As single-use plastic bottles were becoming notorious for their environmental impact, Boxed Water was launched. The brand acts as a replacement to plastic water bottles, by using paper-based packaging which is 100% recyclable and has a 64% lower carbon footprint than plastic bottles. An innovative alternative for water on-the-go!

Waitrose Unpacked

Last year, Waitrose launched its plastic free Unpacked trial, in which items ranging from fruit & veg to pasta and rice were stored loose in stores. Consumers were encouraged to bring their own containers or to use paper bags to package their groceries. Waitrose set the bar for other supermarkets with this trial, in the hope that one day this could become the norm. 

Roberts Bakery

Roberts Bakery became the UK’s first bread brand to launch 100% recyclable packaging for its bloomers. The packaging is made out of paper and clear film, and importantly can be placed in standard household recycling bins, rather than having to be taken to specialist recycling facilities. This is a win for the environment and for consumer convenience. 

Maggie Marilyn

New Zealand based designer clothing brand, Maggie Marilyn, delivers its garments in compostable bags. This innovation earnt the brand coverage in major magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. By challenging the fashion industry’s norms of shipping in plastic bags, the brand hopes to set an example and to encourage others to follow in its footsteps. 

Toad & Co 

US clothing brand Toad & Co has partnered with Limeloop in order to deliver its products to consumers in re-usable shipper bags. The bags are made from recycled vinyl billboards, and are lightweight and waterproof. Once consumers have received their items, they simply need to return the bag using the free postage provided. A sustainable and hassle-free solution. 


L’Occitane has committed to reducing its levels of plastic packaging by offering Eco-Refills for its shampoos, conditioners and shower gels. These use 69-90% less plastic compared to the brand’s regular packaging, so are a good step towards becoming more sustainable. 

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