Icebreaker Gets the Plastic Out

new sock packaging gets rid of useless plastic

Coming soon to a retails store near you: Icebreaker socks without the that weird s-shaped clippy thing that socks are often folded over so they can hang on a display. Icebreaker is replacing these loopy pieces of plastic, called banit pins, with a folding cardboard wrap pack. Not only does this prevent discarded pins from ending up in landfills, but it makes it easier for shop employees to put the socks back in their packaging after you pull them out to fully examine them, or try them on.

Of course, once you do try Icebreaker socks on, you will be heading straight to the register, likely with a couple of pairs. They are soft (even after more than an dozen washings), and they wear exceptionally well. Plus, they've got just the right amount of stretch in the calf to keep them up without cutting off your circulation. Amazingly, my husband (skinny calves) and I (large calves) agree on this point. And if you don't agree? Icebreaker offers a money-back guarantee if you're not convinced its socks are the most comfortable they’ve ever worn.

With the removal of all plastic from its packaging, Icebreaker's socks packs are fully recyclable.The company is also reducing the paper it uses in its socks packaging, as well as replacing the petroleum-based plastic bags it uses to ship socks with recyclable bio bags. The new sock packaging is printed with vegetable-based ink on paper stock accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). And the printing is done close to the US factory when the socks are manufactured to reduce unnecessary freight. Icebreaker store displays are now designed to require less freight space when they are shipped to retailers, and they use 30% less material and hold twice as many socks.

Icebreaker is not the first sock company to replace its plastic packaging with cardboard. Teko socks has been the leader in environmental responsibility amongst premium outdoor sock brands for years. It has used chipboard packaging, made from recycled materials like newspaper and paper bags, and carbon offsets all shipping and employee travel. Its offices and factory are wind powered, and the list goes. on. It's exciting to see Icebreaker showing signs of following suit. Hopefully greening its packaging is one step along a journey.

-Berne Broudy