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Triathlon brand ZONE3 rides the Hydropol™ wave

By April 17, 2024No Comments

ZONE3 is an award-winning triathlon brand which places a huge focus on sustainability. It is passionate about protecting the environment for future generations so that they can enjoy the pursuits of open-water swimming and triathlon.  Having achieved accolades for using innovative new materials such as YULEX, a natural plant-based rubber made from the Havea tree, and biodegradable Terrapene in its garments, ZONE3 has also turned its attention to the packaging it uses.

To align with its values of sustainability and protecting the environment, it was vital that its product packaging also had the lowest possible impact on the environment.  Although the old-style virgin polybags could be recycled, this was only possible if customers took them back to supermarkets. A better, simpler and more convenient solution was needed for customers in the long term.

A proven solution with other fashion brands

ZONE3 first became aware of Aquapak and its soluble garment bags made from Hydropol after seeing that other brands had started using them. ZONE3 also explored other options such as corn starch and sugar cane but felt that Hydropol was a proven solution and, as such, were confident that its product and supply route could adopt a similar approach.

Hydropol garment bags have been specially developed to dissolve in water leaving nothing behind but non-toxic biomass that is marine safe and free from harmful microplastics.

Hydropol garment bag samples were sourced through Aquapak partner Eco Garment Bags who were also able to connect ZONE3 to garment bag manufacturers that were local to its main production and packaging suppliers in Asia. To ensure that as many products as possible could benefit from innovative packaging, three different sizes of bag were chosen for production.

The first ZONE3 products were packed into Hydropol bags in 2023, with the majority of the range now shipped in the bags to distributors or direct to consumers who have used ecommerce channels. The business is now using 85,000 bags per year – all of which can be dissolved after use, leaving no trace.

We spoke to Sam Westlake, Product Designer at ZONE3 about his experience of moving to Hydropol garment bags.

“The whole process from first approaching Aquapak to receiving packaged products in Hydropol garment bags has been very straightforward. Hydropol provides 100% transparency, allowing full visibility of our garments and ensures products are fully protected so that they arrive in perfect condition.

Competitive pricing vs original polybag

“From a pricing perspective, Hydropol is competitive, not just in terms of new materials but also against our original polybag. At Zone3, we really wanted the best solution for our customers and our brand position. We’re passionate about connecting people with the outdoors in a positive way and so we need to do everything we can to show that we’re making the right decisions in the way we run our own business. It is also a big help in demonstrating our commitment to sustainable practices and will support our efforts toward becoming a BCorp Accredited organisation.

Building sustainability credentials for the ZONE3 brand

“It is a little early to say how customers feel about the new packaging but we’ve certainly not had any negative feedback since the introduction six months ago. There is a bit of an education job to do and a need to promote the. We’ve started marketing activity to help customers understand how to dispose of the new bags and promote their positive end-of-life benefits.  For instance, we explain how the bag can be dissolved safely on the packaging itself, but we can also do so much more that will help build the sustainability credentials of the ZONE3 brand. We’ll be featuring more detail on the sustainability page of our website and in our social media activity.

“We are seeing more and more biodegradable and sustainable packaging options on the market and being used by the fashion industry. However, we need a combination of education and legislation to drive real change here in the wider industry at a faster pace.

Our work with Aquapak and adoption of Hydropol is proof that there is a solution available now.”

Aquapak Polymers Ltd
Hollymoor Point
Hollymoor Way, Rubery
Birmingham B31 5HE
United Kingdom

UK & Europe:
+44 (0)121 516 5656
Asia: +65 975 53 203
USA: +1 413 246 4452