CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING
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Looking for a Circular Packaging Solution? Meet RePack

Image credit: RePack

Maybe you remember visiting a post office to pick up one of your online purchases and seeing the hundreds, even thousands, of packages going to other shoppers — to be used once and thrown away.

Sure, online purchases need to be individually labelled and protected for transport, so some form of packaging is necessary. But shouldn’t we as environmentally conscious purchasers have a say in how our goods are packaged? And shouldn't sustainably minded brands be able to offer their customers a choice in this matter? Because surely shoppers and brands would choose a returnable, recyclable package for transporting online purchases — especially if it made economic sense.

This is where RePack comes in.

The concept is simple: Brands that sell their products online can choose to present shoppers with the returnable and reusable RePack packaging option upon checkout, usually with an incentive attached.

Once the consumer has received and unpacked their purchase, they simply drop the package into the nearest post box and it’s returned to RePack — free of charge, from anywhere in the world. It’s that easy.

Turning packaging from cost to value creator

When RePack receives the returned packaging, the consumer incentive is automatically triggered. The most common reward is a voucher giving 10 percent off the next purchase from any retailer that offers the RePack option. Herein lies the beauty of RePack: Vouchers don’t need to be used with the same brand again — they can be redeemed as part of a growing ecosystem of retailers offering RePacks.

Think of it like a department store under the RePack umbrella, with all of the brands benefiting from being part of a community of environmentally conscious consumers.

Sustainability, cost neutrally

Most retailers offering the RePack option share the RePack cost with the consumer, offering them the choice between traditional, disposable packaging and the alternative, reusable one, with consumers deciding if they want to spend the small fee in the interests of being environmentally conscious.

Swedish sustainable fashion brand Filippa K has 10 percent of its customers choosing RePack this way, paying €4 for RePack, in exchange for 10 percent off of their next purchase with a participating retailer.



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“Filippa K wants to inspire a movement of mindful consumption,” says Head of Sustainability Elin Larsson. “In our quest to find more sustainable packaging solutions that create less waste, we found RePack — offering a sustainable alternative and a high-valued service for our customers.”

Enhanced brand experience

Dutch circular economy superstar MUD Jeans has gone a step further and integrated RePack as part of its brand experience by simply absorbing the €2-3 cost per each RePack, as part of the MUD user experience. The company still offers 10 percent off the customer’s next purchase, generating new sales from the wider RePack community.

Increase average order value by up to 30 percent

There is also a case to be made for increasing sales while impressing your best customers.

“When our web store customers receive their products, the package is our business card,” says Jussi Hämäläinen, CDO of Scandinavian Outdoor, Finland’s biggest outdoor retailer, which automatically ships orders of €99 and above in a RePack. This has helped to push up the average order value: The company’s RePack users have almost 30 percent higher average order value.

"When we started working together with RePack back in 2014, we believed that RePack is the right choice for sustainable packaging and that our customers would think the same,” Hämäläinen continued. “After three years, we are happy to say that now we don’t just have to believe — the numbers of satisfied customers and reduced packaging costs prove it.”

RePack — packaging as a service

RePack packaging is owned and circulated by RePack. Voucher distribution, tracking and analytics are handled by RePack itself, so all of the companies in the ecosystem are treated equally. It’s a level playing field, albeit on a higher ground.

Ready today, even better tomorrow

With RePack, the online shopping world now has a chance to eliminate much of its waste, and tighten the loop on a circular economy. It is one of the few concrete, sustainable solutions available today for e-commerce, and those brands that have chosen to embrace it are already seeing the benefits of being part of this growing ecosystem. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for business — and over the longer run, it may be necessary to stay competitive. What’s not to like?


Jonne Hellgren is CEO of RePack, based in Helsinki, Finland.

[Read more about Jonne Hellgren]