The term "biodegradable" has been used over the past few years, to describe plastics or packaging that could potentially be metabolized by microorganisms in nature, with complete breakdown to CO2/Methane, water and biomass. However, there is significant confusion and controversy surrounding biodegradable plastics since many suppliers have used the term to loosely describe their material/packaging without specifying the conditions under which the material would degrade in nature. For instance, some plastics (like PLA) will only degrade under industrial composting conditions, while some others (like PHA) can break down under a wider range of conditions and environments (industrial, backyard, marine). Given this widespread confusion and the misuse of the "biodegradable" term, many global government and industry organizations have issued guidelines to restrict or eliminate the unqualified use of biodegradable as a descriptor of plastics or packaging. These include the European Commission guidelines (European Plastics Strategy) and the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides in the US.
In line with such guidelines, Ubuntoo's recommends that companies providing biodegradable materials, products or packaging:
1.Avoid unqualified use of the term "biodegradable" to describe their products
2.Any claim of biodegradability should be accompanied by a description of specific conditions and environments under which the material or product will undergo degradation in nature
3.It is strongly recommended that companies provide globally accepted certifications or testing for various biodegradability claims (such as the BPA certification for industrial composting)
Further in line with the position articulated by the European Commission as well as major CPG companies, Ubuntoo recommends that "biodegradable" plastics should not be considered a solution for littering (or worse a license to litter). Appropriate collection and end-of-life solutions (such as industrial composting or home composting) need to be put into place to avoid biodegradable plastics ending up as litter in the environment.
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The system is easy to use. Some brands shipping their goods will ask customers to pay for it. In return user gets a discount on any RePack store. Some brands ship all their goods in RePack as a sustainability statement without charging an extra fee. The return rate so far have been very good (75%).
This is a great innovation which doesn’t try to change consumer behaviour drastically but rather fits into people’s lives and nudges them towards a more sustainable way of consuming.
Their award-winning packages come in three adjustable sizes and are made to last at least 20 cycles. Their reusable packages are designed to fold in letter size when empty and made of durable and recycled materials. Best of all, RePack reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80% and there is no trash.
RePack is not just packaging. For every RePack return, there is a reward or an incentive attached. It's also a reward model that appeals to a wider RePack user base. The system improves the customer experience and increases loyalty, with a sustainable twist.
Returning an empty RePack is free of charge, anywhere in the world. RePack check it, clean it and redistribute it. RePack users are e-commerce heavy users who are more loyal than the average customers. The data shows up to 60% of RePack vouchers are claimed.
Many of their clients offer free RePack for their most valued customers, increasing their average order value while reducing packaging trash.
Jonne Hellgren is an innovative strategic thinker and doer, operating at the intersections of business, design and sustainability. He moved to Manchester to study Management.In 2008 his team introduced the term carbon footprint to Finnish audiences in Nordic's most prominent daily news site, HS.fi. Years of footprinting cities, companies, products and supply chains taught him how value is created (and lost) in supply chains. From theory he ventured into new product development & design, combining sustainability with industrial design and new product development. This combination lead him to co-found RePack.Hellgren is currently the CEO of RePack. He enjoys making change happen and being in a team that creates something sustainable, yet disruptive and cool.
Partner and Owner
Besides being partner and owner of Repack, Jan is also owner of Krown-Design, a company that makes products with agri-waste and fungus; and Packaging & Distribution Innovators, a company that supports organisations on packaging topics, such as reducing the environmental impact of packaging. Before, he was Packaging Director, Western Europe with Antalis.