Loyalty schemes are a fundamental element of many retail and eCommerce retention strategies, but a ‘recycling loyalty scheme’ focusing on packaging recycling is something altogether new. While there are some retailers creating engaging loyalty schemes, there are many whose retention schemes rely too heavily on discounting- something that is not commercially or environmentally sustainable.
Forward-thinking retailers have begun to incorporate recommerce and upcycling as a loyalty option. Providing incentives to return used items in the form of store credit is an engaging way to communicate and retain consumers, with the returned items either resold or repurposed.
Could the same principle work for packaging? UK retailer Boots have introduced a packaging recycling loyalty scheme where customers are rewarded with loyalty points for disposing of their product packaging responsibly.
In the face of consumer demand, most brands and retailers are beginning to take a firm interest in improving the environmental footprint of their packaging. This is a complex issue, with varying and constantly evolving guidance on the most sustainable materials to use.
A key issue, however, is the lack of direct involvement in the actual end-of-life of packaging from brands and retailers. Even those who are heavily investing in improved packaging option still require the end consumer to take responsibility and do all the work required to dispose of packaging responsibly.
How can brands and retailers, therefore, have more involvement in this end-of-life process? One solution is through providing packaging recycling services instore, and in turn actively incentivising consumers to utilise them.
Boots Packaging Recycling
UK retailer Boots is trialling a recycling loyalty scheme allowing consumers to return their beauty, health, wellness and dental products that can’t be recycled at home. Not only are Boots providing the recycling facilities, but they are also offering their customers loyalty points in return for utilising the service.
As part of the recycling loyalty scheme, customers can return the packaging from any brand, and for every five empty products returned, Boots give back 500 loyalty points worth £5. Consumers can, in turn, keep track of how many empties they return through their Boots account and see the positive impact they are making to the planet.
This recycling scheme creates a win-win for both customer retention and the environment. Boots create a conversation with their consumers on an increasingly important environmental issue, increasing engagement, all the while providing the groundwork for a future purchase. Consumers are incentivised to revisit a Boots store and are provided with loyalty points to increase spending once they are there.
Recycling Loyalty Scheme Technology
Alongside the well-conceived recycling loyalty scheme concept, the potential of this packaging recycling scheme is increased due to the technology being utilised to execute.
Partnering with scan2recycle, customers take photos of the packaging items they want to recycle and then scan QR codes on the instore recycling bins to complete the process. Once complete, customers are then automatically rewarded with loyalty points to spend instore.
Alongside the seamless process, the combination of instore and digital touchpoints creates a continuous engagement with consumers. The process provides a brand new set of data points to be utilised in the future, creating the starting point for a direct conversation with consumers on sustainability. Use cases could range from providing updates on the companies sustainability achievements, through to specific ethical/sustainable product recommendations.
Boots have in turn partnered with ReWorked to ensure the packaging they receive via the recycling loyalty scheme is put to good use. Any packaging dropped into the bins in-store are taken to ReWorked and broken down into components.
ReWorked is the plastic recycling arm of the MyWaste group. It specialises in the recovering plastic products from the retail and consumer industry and upcycling them into new materials. This helps in maintaining a circular economy for plastic waste for brands and supporting the clean-up of the seas and oceans worldwide.
Anything that can be recycled or composted will be given a second life. ReWorked will incorporate anything that can’t be recycled into Stormboard, a composite wood-style material with a variety of different uses. Either way, nothing goes to landfill or incineration.
More information on this packaging recycling scheme can be found at Boots.com
Further Reading: Loop Reusable Packaging: Multi-Use Grocery Packaging. Read More