Thursday, December 1 2022

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Matt Reynolds: Hello and welcome to today’s webinar. I’m Matt Reynolds, Managing Editor of Packaging World Magazine, and I’m here with Paul Jenkins, Managing Director of PackHub.

Paul Jenkins: Alright, so the first innovation I’d like to talk about today is part of a growing packaging trend that involves reusable and refillable packaging. And what we have here is the multinational packaging and paper group Mondi, which has collaborated with a German chemicals and consumer goods company Henkel to launch 100% recyclable and refillable pouches for the brand of Pril dishwasher from Henkel. For the German market, it is reported that the plastic content of the packaging has been reduced by 70% compared to previous iterations, and it should be used to refill and recycle the PET pump dispenser bottle. Simple and light to carry, consumers can easily empty the packaging without leaving waste inside, thanks to its ergonomic design. The collaboration benefits both companies’ goals of packaging all of their products in 100% recyclable or reusable materials by 2025. And indeed, many brands, retailers and packaging suppliers are working towards that goal for the year 2025. It’s a typical example of a top-down execution and clear branding on the front to somehow direct the consumer to what they need to do. And a clear message that it also saves the use of plastic on top. So just a good enough example to get us started.

Matt Reynolds: Yeah, and that’s what I mean, that’s a key thing you bring up, that’s consumer education, there’s another example from Kao Corp. And they use what is called the “lifetime bottle”. It’s not necessarily for life, but they aim for at least 100 cycles of use and refills, so the bottle for life is supposed to look good. In this case, MyKirei is the trademark of Kao Corp. You can see that dispensers actually dispense hand soap in kid-friendly shapes, like a flower or a paw print. So something interesting to keep the kids interested. These are beautiful bottles that can withstand many, many cycles and stay in your bathroom for months and months. You will continually fill them with the deck on the left. And the package on the left is actually plastic. It is a soft pocket for washing hands. The system reports a reduction in packaging of more than 85% compared to rigid packaging. And what is interesting is that the lifetime bottle is made of HDPE. The replacement film pouches are actually TerraCycle compliant. So someone can refill their bottle and mail it back, postage-free, to TerraCycle. And TerraCycle is able to reuse that vertical film pouch afterwards. Again, another interesting example where consumer education is key.

Paul Jenkins: So what I particularly like about it is not just the consumer education element but also the fact that they support the changes by talking about the percentage of plastic reduction and things like that . So they’re not just making the changes, they’re actually backing it up with evidence of why it’s a good thing from a sustainability standpoint.

Matt Reynolds: Here we have another. This is another example of concentrates. This is from Truman, I believe they have a newer version of it, it might be a slightly older image. But what they do is they offer starter kits and a starter kit would be made up in this case for durable bottles I believe they are durable PE T again this might have about a year, so they may have moved on to other materials, but they are durable bottles that are specially designed to have a cylindrical cone-shaped neck. And then these concentrated tubes that you can see here, there’s a four at the bottom, there’s a quarter color that’s one for bathroom, one for kitchen, one for wood, surfaces wood, that sort of thing. And each fits perfectly into the neck of this bottle. So basically a consumer places this cartridge in the neck of this durable reusable bottle, fills it with water, and then when they screw the nozzle shut which opens the cartridge, the concentrate is released into the bottle below. Again, you only ship a very small amount of liquid and a very small amount of water, the consumer adds the water to the house. So another example of reusable refillable technology excuse me here you know the durable packaging will be used again and again and again and only this very lightweight cylindrical refill cartridge will be mailed to you. Again, optimization is in the whole situation.

Paul Jenkins: Absolutely. And personally, I think that would be a pretty fun thing to do as well.

Matt Reynolds: It’s that they have funny little messages inside the box and everything. It’s cool it’s a cool thing.

Paul Jenkins: Then, Unilever in the United States launched its Dove shower gel in a reusable and refillable format. Consumers have two different options to choose from. The most expensive option is the reusable aluminum bottle and Dove body wash concentrate, which is priced at just under US$15. It consists of an aluminum bottle and a squeezable concentrated body wash, which is a four ounce bottle that is four times concentrated and when diluted with water gives up to 16 ounces of body wash. Again, another example of effectively removing water from the supply chain and adding it at the last moment of consumption. The body wash concentrate bottle uses 50% less plastic than a standard bottle – again communicating that plastic reduction message – and is made from recycled plastic. The other option is Dove’s reusable bottle and body wash concentrate, which contains a recycled reusable plastic bottle and body wash concentrate and retails for $9.99. Refill concentrates, both formats, are available in three flavors. And what I particularly like about it is that it’s very trendy in terms of encouraging the use of refillable and reusable packaging. I like that they did it as a package because consumers need to know how to navigate this industry. It’s new to them. It’s different from what they’ve done before. So Dove and Unilever have done their best to do like a duo pack like this, to really appeal to consumers and put them on a path to hopefully be a long-term consumer of this packaging format.

Matt Reynolds: Yeah, that’s a good point and it sets consumers up for success. And we won’t dwell on that any further, because clearly, you know, Dove and Unilever are far ahead in this case.

This is a deodorant pack which is a reusable stainless steel pack. And then the refill in this case is in an FSC-certified box. Unilever and Dove seem to understand. It’s that circular pattern again. Consumer education is key to making sure people are successful from the start, because if they don’t know what they’re doing and can’t figure it out, that leads to waste and the waste goes to against the sustainability goals that we’re trying to accomplish.

Paul Jenkins: Another product area that has been under pressure to improve this sort of durability is the single-serve coffee cup market. So we have seen a number of great developments in terms of improving the recyclability of paper cups. But also, the reusable format is really starting to have success with many small tests around the world. And here we have an example of Starbucks and Singapore partnering with a reusable packaging company called Muse to launch a borrow cup program. In most three doors of Starbucks at National University of Singapore. The system works by customers walking into a store, being asked to borrow a cup. Using the Muse app on their smartphone, they can scan a QR code on the mug as you can see in the photo. When finished, the customer dropped off a cup at one of six on-campus drop-off stations. The client will then be retrieved and monitored before use. Customers will get a S$50 discount on each drink. The one size cup is suitable for all Hong Kong drinks. Apparently, the client has 14 days to complete the challenge to entice consumers to participate in the program. So it’s fine for them to use the cup but they have to give it back to make it work for the environment. So in this case, the customer has 14 days to return the cup and will be sent a reminder email once late, if the cup is not returned, after 30 days, a $4 fee will be charged and knowing that students probably don’t return their library books, which could be quite an expensive exercise, but a nice enough punitive charge to encourage the need to get back into the supply chain.

Matt Reynolds: And that puts an arc on everything leading up to the conclusion of the webinar all the time we have. Naturally, if you want to know more about what we discussed or want to discuss more with us, visit the websites you see on your screen right now. Use the email addresses to contact Paul or me. That’s all the time we have for today.

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