Zebra will no longer use plastic bags or shrink wrap when shipping Zipship or custom paper products
By Jeff White | July 02, 2021

Is It Really Possible for Supply Chain Companies to Go Plastic Free? We’re Not Sure, but We Should Try.

July 3 may be International Plastic Bag Free Day, but Zebra is committed to reducing our use of plastic bags and shrink wrap every day from here forward. This is why.

The power we each hold to help create a better tomorrow is stronger than you may realize. And when it comes to planet Earth, doing good for the good of its future is essential for us, its inhabitants. The truth of this matter holds more weight than ever before.

It has been reported there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Additionally, research shows that eight million tons of plastic escape into oceans every year, which is equivalent to releasing five full bags of garbage on every foot of coastline around the entire world.

The plastics we use in our day-to-day lives have become a convenience for many consumers and central to the shipping of goods across supply chains. But the consequences have been dire. These plastics and microplastics often hold toxic components that affect the health and wellness of both animals and humans.

This global plastic crisis has impacted the world in ways we don’t always see in front of our own eyes, but it is one that could be greatly improved by taking individual action to reduce plastic use, and consequently, waste. A collective change must be initiated to help ensure a brighter, longer, more sustainable future for this planet and generations to come.

That’s why, in the spirit of International Plastic Free Day (July 3, 2021), Zebra is proud to announce that our ZipShip and custom paper items will no longer be individually shrink-wrapped or bagged during production, effective today.*

The impact? Stopping our use of shrink wrap and plastic bags at just one of Zebra’s manufacturing sites in the UK will reduce our use of single-use plastic by more than 3,748lbs/1,700kg per year. That is the equivalent of over four million plastic straws or 70,000 plastic toothbrushes. Now, double that number (as this change will be applied at two different UK sites) and add to it the extra 150,000lbs/68,038kg of single-use plastic being removed each year from Zebra’s North American supplies manufacturing sites. By choosing not to put ZipShip and custom paper products in plastic bags before shipping, we’ll help keep the equivalent of 170+ million plastic straws or seven million water bottles from piling into landfills and oceans.

That’s why this seemingly small change is such an important step toward protecting our environment and making the world a better place for all.

Small Actions Can Be Simpler to Take and Have a Bigger Impact Than You Think

Zebra has made a commitment to implement environmentally sustainable solutions, and reducing our plastic utilization brings us one step closer to our goal of becoming a more environmentally responsible supplier. (We also use filler packaging and boxes made from recycled content, which can then be reduced or recycled by the customer. And we recently invested in a box optimization tool that helps identify the best size box for the product. As a result, less filler packaging is needed, and the volume of shipped products is reduced. This, in turn, reduces the number of pallets needed to handle/store shipped goods and can lead to fewer trucks on the road.)

But think about how much good we can do if we work together to make even more little changes in our lives.

On this International Plastic Bag Free Day, we challenge you – as both companies and individuals – to reduce your plastic use in just one way. If it’s a way that will reduce everyday use, even better! Then encourage a friend, colleague, customer or supplier to do the same. Take out your favorite reusable bag and carry it proudly. See if you can bundle your shipments in a way that doesn’t require shrink wrap. The world we share is our home, and we have what it takes to love and protect it so that it may prosper for generations to come.


Editor’s Note:

*Customers may still receive shrink-wrapped ZipShip and customer paper items as stock produced prior to this date is depleted from our own facilities and those of our partners.

Learn more about other actions Zebra is taking to build a more sustainable operation and future:

Corporate Social Responsibility, Inside Zebra Nation, Manufacturing,
Jeff White
Jeff White

Jeff White is currently the principal packaging engineer at Zebra Technologies, where he is responsible for both direct designs of new product packaging as well as oversight of outside JDM new and sustaining packaging designs. He is also a member of Zebra's Green Product Council. 

Jeff has more than 30 years of experience within the electronics manufacturing industry and has contributed to efficient packaging designs for Zebra products, with many resulting in significant cost, materials usage and freight savings.

Previously, he served as senior manager for mechanical fixture development team, where he managed engineers, machinists and technicians. Jeff holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from New York Institute of Technology, as well as an MBA from LIU / CW Post.

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