With an estimated market worth of over USD 10 billion, reusable packaging is projected to be the future of sustainable packaging, according to a recent report from PreScouter, a Chicago-based research intelligence company. The value seen with reusable packaging is not only in the materials but also the entire packaging process, as its embedded energy and value are kept in the economy. Stephen Hunt, Membership Services Director at the British Plastics Federation (BPF), commented, “Reusable packaging is a growing trend and one that offers significant opportunities for the plastics industry as the industry moves to become even more sustainable.”
The Ellen Macarthur Foundation reported six benefits of the reuse model, two of which are the ability to adapt to individual needs and to incorporate smart systems. Both of these concepts aim to deliver a more pleasant user experience. With customization, users can mix and match flavors, personalize packaging, or choose desired quantities. Smart systems allow information on user preferences and system performance to be digitally gathered via technologies such as RFID tags, sensors, and GPS tracking incorporated into the reusable packaging system. The future of reusable packaging is hence expected to be smarter, enabling a more personalized experience.
Modern consumers, particularly millennials, want to purchase products that are authentic and display personal connection. As such, if brands explore the ability of reuse models to adapt to individual needs, they can also take advantage of the benefits of personalized packaging, which include consumer engagement and brand awareness, increasing sales, and making a positive impact on consumer loyalty. Following are a few examples of companies making reusable packaging more personal.
Nalgene Outdoor: Plastic bottles with customized features
US-based Nalgene Outdoor, the manufacturer of BPA- and BPS-free reusable water bottles, offers the “customizer” option for its online store, enabling Nalgene bottle fans to create water bottles that reflect their personal styles.
Consumers can select bottle and cap colors, add text or stock graphics, select text colors, fonts, and sizes, and change graphic colors and their placement on a photo or another part of the bottle. Users can also upload their own photos and have them printed on the bottle.
Personalized water bottles from S’well
S’well, a partner of UNICEF, supplies reusable insulated stainless steel water bottles to reduce single-use plastic bottles. S’well bottles can be personalized with a name or initials for an extra special touch. Users can choose the design and create an engraving for their personalized water bottle. The bottles can keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours.
Pepsico is expanding reusable offerings with SodaStream
SodaStream, as part of PepsiCo family since 2018, is providing consumers the option to prepare personalized beverages at home in reusable bottles with compressed CO2 in returnable cylinders. According to their recent sustainability report, PepsiCo said this solution could help avoid the creation of an estimated 67 billion single-use plastic bottles by 2025.
Following up on the success of the SodaStream brand, PepsiCo introduced SodaStream Professional, an eco-friendly hydration platform which enables people to personalize and digitally track their water intake while cutting back on plastic bottles. The platform, which is made up of three components — a beverage dispenser, a smartphone app called SodaStream Connect, and an individualized QR code sticker for reusable bottles that recognizes users when they fill up — is designed for users to refill on the go. Users can personalize various unsweetened flavors, carbonation levels, and temperature options to make the perfect drink while using the app to record their preferences and environmental impact. Since 2019, PepsiCo has placed the platforms in selected workplaces, universities, and hospitality partners across the United States, avoiding nearly 160,000 bottles.
Replenish: Customizable packaging platform for liquid concentrates
Replenish develops reusable, durable spray bottles that attach to refillable pods with liquid concentrates ranging from cleaning to personal care. The company’s patented Smart Refill System allows users to easily mix liquid concentrates inside a reusable bottle that is said to cut plastic waste by 90%. The spray bottle can be customized to personal preferences with any shape and size. According to Replenish, users’ individual needs can be accommodated with refill systems that allow them to mix flavors, add a desired fragrance, or personalize the main packaging. Consumers can even upload digital images to be printed on their bottles.
Apart from its own CleanPath brand of home-cleaning products and foaming hand soap, Replenish exclusively collaborates with Amazon to develop Amazon’s Clean Revolution cleaning products. Amazon uses the Replenish 3.0 packaging design for its Clean Revolution line.
This article was written by Thuy Ngo, PhD, provided by PreScouter