Three startup ideas for retailers to celebrate a sustainable festive season

Pineapple as Christmas tree

Christmas and the festive season are a jolly good time for the economy. Especially food and online retailing are profiting from the fact that at that time, we are even consuming more than we do during the rest of the year. An average European citizen spends 445 Euros on gifts, food, socializing and traveling at Christmas. No wonder, that the German retail industry expects record sales of more than 100 billion euros this year. But consuming more also means producing more waste. Estimates say that we all generate up to 20 % more waste during the Christmas season – from disposable wrapping paper to the food packaging of different Christmas pleasantries.

Now it is time to pay back the planet: not only consumers but also producers and sellers have to change their habits. And what better time of the year could there be than the upcoming new year and the famous tradition of the New Year’s resolution. We introduce three circular economy startups that can help retailers celebrate a sustainable festive season and guarantee an eco-friendly start into the new year:

Swap your online packaging for RePack

Family receieves product in RePack packaging

One easy way for online retailers to become more sustainable and reduce the amount of packaging waste is to swap any disposable shipping box for a reusable packaging solution. The Finnish startup Repack offers such a solution: A returnable packaging service including a customer reward system.

And this is how it works: Online retailers receive a set of reusable shipping bags from RePack. These shipping bags are made of recycled materials and can be reused up to 20 times. Customers order from the webstore and receive their goods in a reusable RePack bag instead of a single-use packaging. The empty packaging can then be return free of charge by mail and the customer receives a reward for returning the packaging. The reward could be a voucher which generates repeated sales for the brands taking part. The Startup then takes the packaging back, checks it, cleans it and redistributes it to the webstores.

The startup even claims that after introducing RePack, the average order value increased about 30 % for certain webstores. Today, the RePack service is used by 32 brands across Europe, such as Filippa K, Mud Jeans or Scandinavian Outdoor. And you could be one of them next year!

Read here the latest update on RePack!


Ship ecologically packed food with Pluumo

Food products that can be packed in pluumo packaging

In case you are a food retailer offering your customers shopping your groceries online or you are one of the booming meal-kit companies, you might like a thermal packaging solution like Pluumo. Developed by the UK startup Aeropowder, pluumo is a revolutionary insulation material made from waste feathers from the poultry industry. Feathers are strong, lightweight and thermally insulating and these properties help pluumo to match the performance of other leading insulation materials such as polystyrene. Moreover, it is even naturally absorbent as well as biodegradable. This makes Pluumo boxes, bags and liners the perfect sustainable packaging alternative for your food deliveries.

The family run Willowbrook Farm in Oxfordshire is already convinced of the superior performance of the material. Since July 2018 they use Pluumo to pack their produce offered online. Maybe Pluumo is the package of choice for your next food delivery?


Offer a sustainable gift in a Sulapac packaging

Jewellery packed in a Sulapac box

The stylish packaging solutions developed by the Finnish startup Sulapac are the perfect fit for high-quality luxury brands in the cosmetics and food industry that also want to meet customers’ demands for more sustainable products. The packaging, that can be produced in virtually any shape and size, is made from FSC-certified wood and renewable natural binders and can biodegrade completely without releasing microplastics into the environment. Yet, the packaging material comes with all the benefits of conventional plastic packaging, since it is oil, water and oxygen resistant. Replacing plastic packaging is easy since manufacturers can use their existing machinery to produce packaging made from the Sulapac material.

Jewellery, natural cosmetics or chocolate – Sulapac seems to appeal to various brands that want to offer their customers a special buying experience: For the leading Finnish jewellery company Kultakeskus, Sulapac has designed jewellery cases that will be used to showcase selected designs from the prestigious Kohinoor range of diamond jewellery. The Finnish cosmetics company Naviter has chosen Sulapac as packaging for its new Atopik range of natural cosmetic products. And Finnish food industry giant Fazer announced launching a confectionery gift box that uses a Sulapac solution. Their latest product is a sustainable straw based on Sulapac’s biocomposite material that is designed to replace traditional plastic straws.

Look, feel and design of the Sulapac products now have even convinced the French luxury fashion house Chanel to invest in the startup. Have a look at their product portfolio which offers multiple customized possibilities for sustainable packaging!


Become an early adopter of new circular economy solutions

Now it is up to you if Santa brings your customers a bunch of waste or if you are the one retailer among your competitors that offers a truly ecological alternative. You can make a difference!
Contact us to find out more:

The Green Alley Award team
Our global environmental and chemical compliance services

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