At THE ICONIC we are committed to innovating and contributing to a circular fashion system and engaging our customers to consume more consciously. As part of this commitment, we’ve signed up as a foundation member of Australia’s clothing product stewardship scheme, called Seamless.
For too long, the fashion industry has been based on a linear model in which we take materials from the Earth, make products from them and later throw these products away as waste. By contrast, in a circular system, fashion products are designed to be used more, made to be made again and made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs. (Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation).
The aim of Seamless is to drive the Australian fashion industry towards clothing circularity by 2030, through incentivising clothing design that is more durable and recyclable, fostering new circular business models and expanding clothing collection, sorting and recycling. As a foundation member, we’ll help to drive the establishment and priorities of Seamless, during a 12 month transition phase, with the scheme to be fully operational in July 2024. Learn more about Seamless.
In joining Seamless, we recognise that the level of transformation required to create a circular clothing system needs the combined skills, knowledge and agendas of the Australian fashion industry. At the same time, we will continue to work on initiatives in our own business in line with our 2030 circularity targets.
- 50% of sold units from fashion assortment made in line with circular criteria (recycled, repaired, pre-loved, circular design)
- 50% of sold units covered by a take back solution
- 100% of directly purchased and Own Brand packaging made from more sustainable materials
- 100% of waste in our operations is diverted from landfill
As an online retailer, THE ICONIC recognises the critical role that packaging plays for our operations and our customers. With thousands of orders delivered each day, we want to ensure that every parcel arrives in great condition, while managing the environmental impact the packaging has.
THE ICONIC is committed to supporting the transition to a circular economy for packaging in Australia. We’ve worked hard to transition our shipping satchels and boxes to packaging made from recycled materials. Our shipping packaging can be reused if a customer needs to return an item to us. We also encourage our customers to responsibly dispose of packaging, for up to date information see the “How do I recycle packaging?’ section below.
THE ICONIC Delivery Packaging
Your next order sent by THE ICONIC will be delivered in packaging that is made from recycled materials.
In 2020, we introduced shipping satchels made of certified 100% post-consumer recycled plastic (excluding inks, colourants and seals).
In 2021, we introduced shipping boxes made of 100% recycled cardboard, sourced from a mixture of pre- and post-consumer waste, and made locally in Australia. Our boxes are certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) to verify their recycled content.
In addition to packaging that THE ICONIC uses for delivery, products from our Own Brands and brand partners contain additional packaging such as hangers, tags, boxes or bags. For our Own Brands we’ve minimised the packaging used and are working closely with suppliers to meet our targets on recycled packaging materials. We’ve made third-party brand partners aware of our packaging commitments and guidelines and encourage collaboration for continual improvement in this area.
Reuse for Returns
We know that sometimes your purchase isn’t quite right. It happens! You can send items back to THE ICONIC – in line with our Returns Policy – using the same satchel or box in which they were delivered. In fact, THE ICONIC satchel is made with a double seal to make it easy to reuse. Simply tear along the line when opening your satchel to preserve the second seal. After we process your return at our Fulfilment Centre, we ensure packaging is properly recycled. Tip: be mindful of how much sticky tape you use to attach your returns label. The less you use, the better.
Your Packaging Questions, Answered
We know recycling can be confusing, that’s why we created this easy How-To guide for recycling and responsible disposal at home.
This category includes THE ICONIC’s delivery satchels and transparent garment bags used to wrap individual items.
In Australia, unfortunately there is no collection of soft plastics widely available for customers at the present time. Industry is working hard to identify pathways to create new scheme(s). In the meantime, customers are advised to check with the local council on whether soft plastics recycling is available in your area, if not, soft plastics should be disposed of in the landfill bin.
In New Zealand, you will find soft plastic recycling collection points at selected supermarkets and other retail stores.
You may notice recycling symbols and information on some of our current soft plastic packaging. This is because we print and manufacture packaging ahead of time and are currently working through the stock we have on hand. In line with ACCC guidelines, all future packaging runs will carry the most up to date disposal information.
Cardboard & Paper
THE ICONIC’s delivery boxes, protective tissue or honeycomb packing paper, shoe boxes and cardboard tags can be recycled at home in your council-provided yellow recycling bin. Make sure you flatten boxes first so they can be picked up in the cardboard recycling stream.
In addition to the soft plastic, cardboard and paper packaging that THE ICONIC uses for delivery, products from our third-party brand partners may include plastic hangers or blister packs, as well as combinations of materials. Systems for recycling these items vary by local area, so it is best to check with your local council on how they can be responsibly disposed of.
The Ellen Macarthur Foundation estimates that in 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by weight, while Canopy calculates that each year over 3 billion trees are cut down to produce paper packaging. To address environmental impacts at this scale, we need to change how we design, use, reuse and recycle packaging.
Since 2018, THE ICONIC has been a signatory of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), which is leading the development of a circular economy for packaging in Australia. As part of our membership, we collaborate closely with APCO on the measures we can take as a business to help achieve Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets. You can discover more about our packaging progress by accessing our most recent APCO Annual Report and Action Plan here.
Every item on THE ICONIC – whether it’s an item of clothing, a pair of shoes or an accessory – requires natural resources to produce. For example, the energy used for manufacturing, water used for dyeing, or fuel for transportation. When these products are in transit, or at our warehouse, they are at risk of getting dusty, wet, or damaged. Packaging plays an essential product-protection role to ensure that your item arrives in pristine condition. This means your new purchase can have a long life in your wardrobe (and someone else’s, after you decide to pass it on), making the most of the resources used for production. We’ve found plastic packaging, made from recycled materials whenever possible, provides the best product protection, however we’re always looking for ways to improve and innovate the environmental impact of our packaging.
In THE ICONIC’s evaluation of multiple packaging options, our Sustainability Team and Packaging Working Group tested a home-compostable satchel. Despite being one of our best performers, most customers in Australia and New Zealand don’t have access to composting at home, nor access to commercial compost services. It means packaging would likely end up in landfill or in the recycling stream, compromising its potential for recycling. That’s why we landed on our 100% recycled post-consumer plastic satchels as the best option for now.
THE ICONIC is committed to diverting operational waste from landfill and ensuring that materials are recycled for another use whenever possible. As a pure-play online retailer, the majority of our direct waste impact occurs at our Fulfilment Centre, with a smaller amount from our Studio and Head Office. The main waste materials we deal with are paper and cardboard, soft plastics, stickers, tape, pallets, drink containers and food scraps.
A key part of our waste management has been the implementation of a waste separation system at our sites to enable our team to sort soft plastics from paper and cardboard for recycling. We also separate and recycle glass, hard plastic and timber. We’ve implemented organics collection at our Studio. The remaining dry general waste generated at our FC is sent to resource recovery to be converted into Process Engineered Fuel (PEF), instead of sending it to landfill. At the same time, we’re continuing to work on finding new ways to recycle as many waste streams as we can, and retain the maximum material value within the system. In 2022 we achieved a 92% diversion of waste from landfill across our sites.
We’re committed to helping develop and accelerate a circular fashion system in Australia and recognise that systems change requires industry-wide collaboration. We’re proud to be a founding member of Seamless, the national stewardship scheme that aims to make Australian fashion truly circular by changing the way we design, consume and recycle clothing.
At the same time, we’re taking our first steps as a business into the circular fashion space, with key initiatives that are in line with our 2030 targets.
Extending the usage of clothing is another key component of a circular fashion system.
Our Giving Made Easy program enables you to donate pre-loved clothes to The Salvos, giving the clothing another life, simply by downloading a pre-paid postage label and dropping your donation at any Australia Post location. Since 2020 we have received over 10,050 donations, an estimated 40,680 kg of clothing, footwear and accessories.
Our Considered Edit enables our customers to shop by their own personal sustainability values, and provides an assortment of products and brands that are better for humans, animals or the environment than conventional alternatives. We have seven categories and 45 individual criteria to recognise that sustainability means different things to different people, and positive change can be created in many ways. Since its launch in 2019, the assortment has increased to nearly 1,000 brands and contributes to over 21% of all sales (average for 2022) . We hope to continue inspiring and being inspired by our third-party brand partners – together we play a key role in driving collective and actionable change and increasing this assortment significantly.
How to better care for your clothes.
The fashion choices we make and consideration of the materials we purchase have an important impact on the industry and our environment. However, we can also reduce our footprint by caring for our clothes more consciously at home.
By taking care of our clothes thoughtfully we can successfully prolong their life as well as reduce our carbon footprint.
Washing clothes at a higher temperature increases the energy used and can cause a garment to lose its quality faster. By choosing the cold cycle next time you wash your clothes, you can not only reduce your environmental impact by consuming less energy but also help extend the lifespan of your garment.
All of us are guilty of not reading our care labels - but they are there for a reason! Each garment should be cared for in a way that preserves the fabric to ensure we’re not damaging the product in harsh conditions. Wool, denim and your delicates all have different care instructions in order to extend the lifespan of the fabric. We also really recommend investing in products which reduce microfibre shedding.
Wash Inside, Dry Outside
When washing our clothes, turn the garments inside out to limit the wear and tear of the item. In terms of drying the items, where possible, air dry them outside. Air drying is also better for your clothes and the planet compared to tumble drying which uses a lot of energy to run and can cause fibres to deteriorate faster.
Washing garments too often can cause damage to the fibres and decrease their lifespan. If an item isn’t dirty but just needs freshening up try hanging it outside to air first. Try it with your denim, coats and jackets.
Laundry powders and detergents can commonly contain harsh substances sourced from fossil fuels. When purchasing your laundry products, look out for brands that have ingredients that are kinder to the environment as well as those that have more sustainable packaging.
If you want to learn more about how to care for your clothes, we've also added some more specific information below for your denim, knits, delicates and more.
Find out more about our targets and initiatives across our People & Planet Positive strategy pillars below