On now with sustainable packaging

We recently reported on the sustainability activities of the sportswear brand On. Now the Swiss company is also announcing ecological progress in its product packaging, which will help to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions even further.

Materials as an ecological problem

The manufacturer’s sustainability team has analysed a considerable amount of data and found that their materials used are responsible for up to 80% of the ecological footprint – a big problem. For some time now, products have increasingly used recycled materials to reduce their environmental impact. Now the team has started to pay more attention to sustainability in packaging as well. And not to neglect the aspect of aesthetics.

The results of these efforts in the changeover to new packaging design are quite impressive. In future, for example

  • 7 tons of black ink
  • 18 tons of paper
  • 15 tons of plastic
  • and not least 160 tonnes of CO2 saved

Recyclable packaging made from recycled material

This was achieved by making the new shoe box, sock and lace packaging 100% from recycled materials. The packaging of the clothing items to more than 99.9%.

The sustainability and product design team also specifically looked for a plastic alternative that would allow for smooth, lightweight, yet stable and protective packaging. In addition, the material used should be completely and easily recyclable. The packaging material that is now being used was also certified by environmental organisations that work to protect forests.

Eco-packaging as a result of close cooperation between the sustainability team and the product design team

Less and alternative ink

By moving away from the usual “all-black look”, less black ink is used for the boxes, which also significantly reduces the environmental impact. The result is fresh and bright without compromising the minimalist design language. The ink that is still used for the outer print is hydrogen-based and significantly more environmentally friendly than the former PVC ink, which was plastic-based.

“It was long overdue to include packaging design in our overall sustainability strategy. It took us some time to find a solution made of 100% recycled materials that also met our quality standards. Now we have done it and we are very happy with the result,” reports Viviane Gut, Head of Sustainability at On.

Renunciation of non-essentials

The small plastic tag called “Kimble”, which is usually used to hold a pair of socks together, is dispensed with in the new, revised sock packaging. The same applies to the stickers on and the silica gel bags in the shoe boxes: They, too, are now a thing of the past. The new silk paper packaging protects the shoes from moisture and gives the customer the feeling of unwrapping a gift.

“We looked at every little packaging detail. Because even these add up when you ship millions of shoes around the globe. By finding more sustainable alternatives or eliminating certain add-ons altogether, we can reduce the waste we produce in the long run.” says Viviane Gut.

Paper return slips and envelopes are also now a thing of the past. Instead of paper return envelopes, each cardboard box now contains a QR code, also printed with hydrogen-based ink.

The recyclable materials are another step towards On’s Impact Goals. Recently, the manufacturer announced its intention to join the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) (https://sciencebasedtargets.org).


Text: Susanne Frank
Bilder: On

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