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10 Best Ideas To Reuse Packaging – Sustainable Packaging Trends In 2021

47 views Published by October 9, 2021
The circular economy is about recycling everything really well, right? Well, no. You have certainly heard about the reduce-reuse-recycle. Today we are talking about reusing things and avoiding single-use packaging. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation put together a great book with 69 examples of reuse solutions. And we will walk you through the 10 best ideas to reuse packaging in 2021.

This book starts with a nice framework to look at how we can reuse packaging and breaks it down into 4 categories: packaging we can refill at home, refill on the go, the packaging we can return from home, and return on the go. Return on the go works like this: you purchase a product in returnable packaging, you use it, you return the perfume box packaging and the business cleans and refills it for the next user. What is the best example of packaging on the go? Right! Coffee.

First, anybody who likes hot beverages on the go should have a travel mug with them. With that out of the way, for those who really need a coffee and forgot their cup at home, RECUP is a program in Germany that offers cups that can be returned to any RECUP partner in exchange for your original €1 deposit. Universal and no-branded design enables a large pool of cafés and restaurants to participate in the program.

Another solution for “refill on the go” is CoZie: this French company has developed a machine for bulk dispensing of cosmetic products such as face cream, moisturizer, deodorant, etc. The machine stocks the product into airless bags to preserve its shelf life and meet strict specifications for hygiene and traceability. All products come into durable glass containers that can be returned to CoZie against discounts on the next refills.

Repack is another return on the go system: when customers from an online store choose the RePack option for their purchase, the order is delivered in a RePack reusable shipper with a prepared return label. A barcode on the shipper ensures that they are tracked and that customers are rewarded when they send them back.

Now, let’s look at the “return from home” category: you subscribe to a service, the business delivers the product to your door, you use it, the business picks it up, cleans and refills it for the next user. Loop is an online store that delivers your favorite products in durable packaging. When you are finished with the product, they pick it up, clean it up and fill it up again. The Loop store features products from well-known brand-owners such as Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Unilever, Häagen-Dazs, etc. but they take care of all the logistics for them.

Liviri also offers “return from home” packaging with these reusable custom mailer boxes to keep meals and perishable items in optimal conditions. The box has built-in insulation, movable partitions inside, and reusable ice packs. Either the delivery company owns the boxes or the customers send them back to Liviri via a return shipping label.

Every day in Mumbai, 200,000 meals are delivered and returned in tiff-in boxes. Inspired by this system, DabbaDrop delivers ready-made meals to your doorstep in London in reusable tiffing boxes. Customers pay 15 pounds upfront for the container. Each delivery is carried out by bike and the empty box from the previous meal is picked up, washed, and reused by DabbaDrop.

Now let’s look at the “refill at home” category: you buy a container, you use it, you buy a refill and refill your container yourself. Replenish has created this spray bottle for cleaning and personal care. You attach at the bottom a pod with liquid concentrates, you squeeze into a measuring cup to release some product and add water to it in the main reservoir. One pod makes 6 bottles.

“Refill on the go” is pretty self-explanatory: you buy a container, use the product and refill the container on the go. Algramõ uses electric tricycles to bring to the customer’s doorstep the vending machine to refill their durable containers. Customers use their smartphone to arrange the visit of the tricycle via the Algramõ app and have an online account for payment, credits, and special rewards.

Coca-Cola has developed vending machines, so people can refill their own water bottles with customized drinks with bubbles or fruit flavors. A smartphone app helps users track locations and pay online. DASANI PureFill stations are currently being installed on university campuses, schools, hospitals, etc.

This last example does not really fall under the 4 categories because it works at the scale of an entire country: Sweden. The Swedish Return System delivers crates and pallets to the producer where they are filled and shipped to the wholesaler and then to the retail outlet. The retailer empties them and sends them back to the wholesaler: Swedish Return System takes back the reusable crates and pallets and does quality controls and cleaning before using them again. Operated since 1997, it is currently used for half the fresh food deliveries in Sweden!

If you know someone who is looking for an idea to start a business or to join a good one, this is the article for you. There are so many ways to get rid of all single-use packaging!


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