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Latest news from Packaging Innovations & Empack

ThePackHub’s Innovation Zone platform

Paul Jenkins, Managing Director of ThePackHub, highlights some of the refillable and reusable packaging initiatives coming through the innovation funnel on ThePackHub’s Innovation Zone platform. 

A growing desire to reduce single-use packaging has led to an increase in refillable and reusable packaging, which now accounts for 17.2% of all sustainable packaging initiatives on the database. The Innovation Zone platform is tracking a steady trend in this area, with 569 refillable or reusable initiatives currently listed, representing 8.9% of all entries. As of 2022, this number has risen to 14.8%, further emphasizing the growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions

Dutch organic food supermarket to start offering returnable glass jars

The Dutch chain of organic food supermarkets, Ekoplaza has announced that they are to start offering returnable, reusable glass jars. The glass jars, supplied by Wisselwaar, are filled with bulk dry goods, such as peas, rice, breakfast cereals and canned goods, as well as bottles of dairy products. Customers can return glass containers after use and receive their deposit back. There is a 0.70 euro deposit on each jar. Last spring, Ekoplaza joined forces with the Brussels organic chain Färm. This merger allowed Ekoplaza to see which products packaging-free shopping is possible for, and for which it is not. The company aims to introduce Wisselwaar in every Ekoplaza before the end of 2023. The European Commission has recently announced its intention to reduce the amount of post-consumer waste and is encouraging deposit systems, while single-use plastics are increasingly banned.

Closed-loop alternative to single-use corrugated boxes

Pact Retail Accessories, based in St. Albans, UK, specialises in reusable products such as garment hangers and security sensors. They have introduced the PolyBox, a polymer-based box that is a substitute for corrugated packaging, enabling garment boxes to be reused and no longer discarded for recycling after one use. Although the initial creation of a PolyBox has a larger carbon footprint than a corrugated cardboard box, it is reported that after just one reuse, the greenhouse gas emissions become lower than those for single-use board containers. The PolyBox comes in a variety of box sizes that are available for production use, and can be customised for a retailer’s needs. Reusing an item multiple times creates a carbon footprint that is up to 64% lower than a comparable single-use option. It also uses up to 86% less water. Pact launched the PolyBox in 2022 with successful retail trials at merchants in the United Kingdom and Australia.

French partnership brings reusable packaging to e-commerce customers

In December 2022, French package delivery company Mondial Relay started a partnership with reusable packaging start-up Hipli. Hipli will provide Mondial with its reusable packaging, which they say can be reused up to 100 times. It says that it can reduce CO2 emissions by 83% compared to conventional corrugated board packaging. The benefits of using this reusable packaging, made from recycled PP (polypropylene), start from the second use. E-commerce merchants working with Mondial, who are already customers of Hipli now have access to 50,000 items of reusable packaging. The co-branded Hipli/Mondial Relay parcels are available in three sizes, allowing them to be deposited in Mondial Relay Lockers. When these reusable parcels are received by individuals, they have the option of reusing the packaging for a new shipment for personal use or returning it to Hipli by inserting it in a pre-stamped pouch. It will then be cleaned and returned to the system.

Fast food giant offers reusable packaging option

KFC Germany is now offering its customers the opportunity to order their favourite food in reusable packaging in a partnership with Vytal, reported to be the first digital reusable system for takeaway products. Customers need to download and register the Vytal app. When ordering food, they add the Vytal option to their order. For home delivery, the customer adds the 6-digit delivery code from the app. The customer pays a small deposit, and as long as the packaging is returned to an outlet that is part of the scheme within 14 days, there is no charge. Otherwise, the deposit is forfeited. Reusable packaging will become more prevalent in Germany, as restaurants, bistros and cafés that sell takeaways will be required to offer their products in reusable packaging from January 2023. The reusable option must not be more expensive than the food and drinks in disposable packaging.

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Latest news from Packaging Innovations & Empack