How the Luggage Industry is focusing on Sustainability

Eminent Luggage | Eminent Blog | How the Luggage Industry is focusing on Sustainability

Over the past decade sustainability has become a relevant and highly discussed topic in both the travel and business worlds. Businesses have become highly scrutinised for their manufacturing practises. While travel companies have been encouraged to monitor their carbon emissions and work towards a cleaner, greener global footprint. At Eminent we manufacture our own bags, so we know what goes into making your luggage and can monitor our workplace practices closely. But let's take a look into how the luggage industry is working hard to ensure it is a leader of sustainable industry practices. 

Focus on durability

A focus within the luggage industry is to ensure durability and quality, providing a ‘less is more’ service. This focuses on creating products that are up to a high standard where longevity is key. Thus producing less waste that would come with broken or poorly made bags and cases. As there are now more advancements in material technology and better understanding of what goes into creating a great durable bag, customers are now given the option to choose between a cheap suitcase that will last one trip and a quality bag that will withstand years of travel and use.

In good quality durable bags: hard shell luggage that had previously been known to crack with time and travel are now being manufactured with polycarbonate and soft shell cases are expected to have a high denier rating to ensure longevity. Parts such as the wheels, locks, telescopic handles and standard handles can be replaced over time, with brands creating replaceable components that allow customers to keep the product for longer.  Even smaller items such as zipper pullers have the ability to be replaced. The cost for replacing these items are significantly more cost effective. And more environmentally friendly, then buying a completely new suitcase. At Eminent we ensure that we stock spare parts for all of our bags. Even keeping parts for older or discontinued stock, just to ensure our customers maximise the use of their bag. We prioritise sustainability so that our customers own a bag with great longevity. 

Creating bags that last the test of time, ensure less baggage waste and a future of sustainable well made products. To contribute to this sustainability initiative, Eminent uses a polypropylene based material called Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) which is a lightweight impact resistant material that is also considered more easily recycled than other similar products. This material increases durability: not just making it more stable against knocks and scratches, but also known to be temperature resistant; TPO is hardier against unexpected exposure to elements, such as if the luggage is left exposed to the sun waiting to be placed on a bus, or the exposure that comes with the harsh range of temperatures in the baggage compartment of a plane. Thus having excellent durability while being more environmentally friendly. 

Shift in focus to sustainable materials

As well as focusing on durability, manufacturers have started to develop bags with recycled materials or eco friendly materials. There are many ways luggage companies are demonstrating this initiative. Some companies are focusing on developing products out of recycled materials, there are two ways this can be done. Some products are made out of post-consumer recycled materials, this is any general rubbish thrown away by consumers that is then used to produce a new item (luggage): these may be bottles, recycled plastics or even old baggage. The other option is post industrial materials, these are anything that is left over in the production phase of an item, for example the offcuts of an item that has been moulded. Both of these methods of recycling are effective in incorporating an element of sustainability into production of the luggage by using repurposed recyclable material.  

Some companies are also choosing to focus on the biodegradable aspect of sustainable luggage, incorporating materials that are more eco friendly and decompose faster when disposed of.

These are production attributes that are still in advancement as it can be difficult to gain a balance between creating a bag that is durable and creating a bag that is environmentally friendly. However as sustainability is a focus within the industry there is continuous evolution in the creation of environmentally friendly luggage. 

Many travellers value their eco-footprint so companies such as Eminent that are working toward incorporating recycled materials into their luggage materials prove more appealing to sustainably minded customers.

Increased demand for lightweight baggage options 

With airlines and travel agencies focusing on lower carbon emissions, one of the key focal points of these initiatives is the tightening of the travel weight requirements for passengers.  In general passengers are aware of the weight regulations applied by airlines when traveling. However in the past 10 years the requirements for these weight restrictions have become more of a regulated issue, and penalties have become higher. As this has become an ingrained part of travelling today, customers are leaning towards lighter options of bags to pack easily within the boundaries set.  A market research report conducted by technavio predicted that between 2019-2023 the interest in purchasing light weight bags and business bags for travel would increase substantially over the demand for traditional suitcases. People are wanting lighter weight suitcases, and smaller more compact travel bags to fit in with the airlines weight restrictions. This adaptation of travel circumstances is directly impacting the amount of fuel used by airlines or coaches, because a lighter vehicle uses less fuel. Subsequently studies are now showing that customers are  diligently choosing bags that help them to travel lighter, thus having an impact on carbon emissions. 

Accountability of customers.

As we have entered an age of internet freedom, brands are always under scrutiny about the materials they use, the way they produce their products, the initiatives they choose to support and much much more. This analysis from keyboard warriors or video reviewers provides a lot more accountability when it comes to ensuring businesses focus on sustainability. The internet brings luggage enthusiasts together, you can even find entire forums discussing a brand’s carbon footprint or debating the durability of a hard or soft shell luggage. There are also an abundance of second hand facebook groups that help to give an insight into brand quality and offer people an opportunity to test a product before they decide to commit to that brand. Because customers often value a company that cares for the environment, discussion of this will be posted to various mediums: it is a company’s choice whether to take this feedback or to lose credibility with customers who care about the environment. 

Finally, industry-wide sustainability is a major topic of interest where companies are taking steps to ensure the environment is taken into consideration. At Eminent we hope that you will take into consideration aspects such as the TPO materials used in our high quality bags when you are researching and considering how to purchase an environmentally friendly bag. It is always worth doing a bit more research to ensure you have versatile, durable, sustainable luggage.