Supermarkets need to change the way they think about plastic. @Seariousbusiness, we believe the way forward is to scrap single-use packaging and introduce reusable alternatives. It’s not just ecologically responsible; it’s good business sense! Packaging is an asset, not trash!
The Problem with Plastic
Plastic material has its advantages. It’s durable, versatile, flexible, light, cheap. So why do we view it as disposable?
11 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean every year, negatively impacting biodiversity, livelihoods, and key economic sectors. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation forecast that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 if nothing changes. With 91% of this plastic never being recycled, it is clear that recycling is not the answer. We have to stop thinking of plastic as single-use, keep plastic in the economy and out of the trash can. Retailers and brand owners have a responsibility to offer consumers an alternative. Why not provide customers with durable, customised packaging that they can use hundreds of times? Searious Business envisages a model in which brand owners view packaging as an asset and not trash.
Reusable packaging offers business benefits for the entire supply chain across many industries, FMCG and supermarkets in particular. Customers are actively seeking out brands with a high level of environmental commitment. Refill displays encourage more personal engagement with your brand and give a higher value perception than the traditional grab-and-go packaging concepts. Plus, refillable and loyalty reward schemes incentivise customer return. With e-commerce channels beating traditional shops in terms of availability and range, stores need to provide new impulse. Refill stations can offer an exciting product discovery and taste-making experience for customers. Response to reusable systems has been overwhelmingly positive in many big retailers where they recognise the importance of turning reusable systems from niche to mainstream. Asda, for instance, aspires its “refill zone to provide products at the same price or cheaper than the pre-packaged range”, thereby providing mass-market appeal.
Searious Business is helping several major brands in Europe and three Moroccan supermarket chains to switch from single-use to reusable containers. One of the examples: deli-counter customers are encouraged to opt for a reusable container that creates zero waste. They pay a small deposit for the container, and on return, the containers are washed and reused. Supermarkets can use the container over 500 times and recover their investment costs after only 8 months. If widely implemented, the city of Rabat alone could avoid a vast 5000 tonnes of plastic waste and save 14,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This pilot scheme has excellent potential for up-scaling, and we can provide similar initiatives across many retail situations.
Our mission is to achieve a world with zero-plastic waste, and we believe reusable packaging has a vital role to play. It is a complex challenge and will require different solutions depending on the product. We analyse your business’ plastic use and design tailor-made strategies for reusable packaging. If you’re ready to re-imagine your packaging and invest in brand-building solutions, get in touch.