Haney, a global leader in package prototyping, has produced first-of-its-kind sustainable fashion packaging for designer Heron Preston using HP Indigo printing and cellulose-based materials from Futamura. The pouches are made of materials certified for compostability using digital technology, a first for the fashion industry, and could replace the plastic bags used in retail packaging.

In collaboration with HP, Heron Preston, an American cultural icon in streetwear fashion, requested sustainable packaging for his designs to explore alternatives for plastic polybags. HP and Heron Preston presented the concept at the Museum of Plastic at Art Basel in Miami on December 5.

“From textiles to packaging, I’ve made it my mission to identify sustainable solutions for the fashion industry,” said Heron Preston. “This collaboration between Heron Preston and HP is a great example of the positive change that can happen when brands come together to support a shared mission.”

Heron Preston and HP produced 200 pouches as part of a limited-edition pilot program, as part of Heron Preston's larger mission to identify sustainable solutions for the fashion industry. The limited-edition, 8. 5 x 13-inch compostable pouches for individually packaged garments feature Preston artwork and are serialized using HP Indigo variable data printing.

“This is a great first step. We are experiencing a sharp increase in requests to develop sustainable packaging for consumer goods as brands set goals for 2020. This is a new wave that will help move the needle toward sustainable packaging,” said Stephanie Love, marketing manager, Haney Packaging.

Haney used 5-color reverse printing on Futamura’s transparent NatureFlex film to ensure ink protection with no scuffing and laminated to a clear NatureFlex liner material, according to Love. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based Haney produced the packaging on its HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press, acquired a year ago to boost capacity to develop and market innovative packaging solutions. Haney designs and prints both packaging prototypes and pre-commercial sales and test market samples. It turned to Futamura to develop the materials solution.

“This is the first time we have been approached for a garment application.,” said David Craggan, Commercial Manager, Americas, at Futamura. NatureFlex is a family of bio-based and compostable films manufactured from wood pulp. “Our materials have traditionally been used for food packaging but are now gaining popularity in many markets.

NatureFlex offers great product protection and is shelf stable. It will only start to degrade when exposed to moisture and microorganisms in a composting environment, where it can degrade rapidly in as little as 45-60 days,” added Jake Hebert, Sales Manager, at Futamura. “We have seen a surge in the number of requests for sustainable materials and we don’t see it slowing down.”

HP Indigo and Futamura are partners in Haney’s VIA Alliance to develop the future of packaging and connect brands with global technology leaders. The mission of the VIA alliance library is to introduce brands to innovative materials at the design stage.

The materials used to develop these pouches are certified for home and industrial compostability. They are printed with HP Indigo ElectroInks on materials manufactured with FSC and PEFC certified wood pulp. TUV Austria awarded the “OK Compost Home” and “OK Compost Industrial” marks to HP Inc., verifying HP Indigo ElectroInks are certified for composting and biodegradation.