Founded in 2019 in Oslo, Norway, Packoorang reusable packaging was created with the goal of ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Founders Natasha Abbas, Samuel Bigirimana, and Alvin Leer bring a wealth of experience and a key focus on reducing the carbon footprint of the worlds urban areas. Cities occupy only two percent of the world’s landmass, yet they consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions.
We caught up with Alvin Leer to discuss the basis behind Packoorang Reusable Packaging, and get some further thoughts around the future of packaging.
How Packoorang Reusable Packaging Works
Packoorang reusable packaging is a simple process:
- Order- Customers order from an eCommerce retailer in precisely the same way as usual. The only difference is items are shipped in a Packoorang package rather than the standard single-use packaging.
- Delivery- eCommerce retailers ship packages using the flexible Packoorang reusable packaging. The packaging is durable, padded and water-resistant, while also being designed to wrap around an object, enabling different sized products to be shipped with a single packaging solution.
- Return- The end consumer is then responsible for shipping the empty packaging back to the eCommerce retailer. Packoorang is working closely with domestic and international postal services to simplify the collecting and returning empty packages.
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While the idea of consumers being responsible for return shipping potentially seems a strange concept currently, the global sustainability shift will make these changes in consumer behaviour much more straightforward. Many predicted the same challenges with supermarket plastic bags, yet bringing your bags to the supermarket now feels like second nature.
Packoorang Reusable Packaging Statistics
Single-use is the biggest issue for any product from a sustainability perspective. Packaging is no different.
Even the more sustainable packaging options, while certainly an improvement, are still damaging for the environment when you consider the very short lifespan of usage. Reusable packaging looks to address this by making packaging which is suitable to be used on multiple occasions.
Packoorang reusable packaging solution reports the use of CO2-efficient dyeing methods, recycled plastic, durable fabrics and low emission machinery, to produce packaging with an equivalent production CO2 emission of single-use packaging solutions. The big difference comes when you consider Packoorang packaging is designed to be used 500 times before being recycled, equally a 430% reduction in CO2 vs single-use solutions.
- Each Packoorang satchel can be used up to 500 times
- Potential emission per package of only 0.15 grams CO2 based on multiple use
- 430% reduction in CO2 vs standard single-use solutions
Interview with Alvin Leer, Co-Founder, Packoorang
Can you explain the concept of Packoorang Reusable Packaging? What drove you to start the business?
The concept is fairly simple, in theory at least: To make packaging that lasts longer and can stay in a constant loop (for over 100 shipments per item) between eCommerce stores and consumers (B2C), but also between factories and outlets (B2B).
From an environmental footprint perspective, are you able to share the benefits of Packoorang reusable packaging vs standard packaging?
Sure, there are three ways in which we reduce climate footprint vs traditional single-use packaging:
First, you have the fact that the production footprint of our packaging is the same as a single-use cardboard box of equivalent size. Also, cardboard boxes are used with new material, whereas Packoorang uses 100% recycled polyester from clothing, bottles, etc. This reduces plastic waste simply lying around in landfills, seeping microplastic into nature.
Secondly, we have the simple fact that our packaging lasts for 100+ trips, rather than just one. If it makes 100 trips, it’s 100x lower production footprint than a cardboard box, 200 trips; it’s 200x and so on.
Thirdly, our packaging is flexible and can be flat packed. It has built-in closing (zipper) and 3mm padding (more, if you roll it up) which renders add-on packaging items unnecessary. We are talking tape, peanuts and other plastic fillers. Additionally, the size flexibility allows our logistics partners to ship less air, meaning fewer trucks needed for the same amount of goods.
Are there any concerns with regards to return logistic requirements with Packoorang reusable packaging?
In short, no. However, rather than concerns, there are a few requirements that need to be sorted in each market we operate. While we have our own sorting facilities, we are, of course, dependent on logistics partners such as national postal services or other distributors to work with us and facilitate the return system. So far, the response from postal services and others has been very positive – from Norway and Finland to Germany, Switzerland and Canada to mention a few.
Additionally, we need to ensure consumers are aware of the return system and their obligations to return the empty packaging. This is something we are working with eCommerce players and others to ensure, through communication (website updates, flyers delivered in the bag with the products ordered, etc.) and through programs to ensure returns are made (this can be either positive reinforcement through bonus programs, or negative reinforcement through deadlines and “fines” for non-returns – “return by this date or you have purchased the bag.”)
One of the biggest hurdles with Packoorang Reusable Packaging will be consumer adoption. How do you feel this can be accelerated?
We fully agree, and this is why our approach is a bit different than other players who have previously tried to reach mass adoption. We strongly believe the adoption has to come from above. You cannot ask consumers to make the “right” choice for nature when it seems the “wrong” choice for them personally.
Instead, we encourage our eCommerce and logistics partners to simply switch to reusable packaging, and whether they ask their customers to pay 5% more for shipping or not, is up to them. In any case, in most markets will be able to achieve savings per shipment rather than extra cost. This means the eCommerce segment will be able to reap the benefit of staying at the forefront of the green shift, with all of the obvious benefits this entails, without having to spend more money per shipment or move the cost over to the consumer.
Many retailers will also have very rigid processes built for efficiency. How do you feel businesses will become more engaged with Packoorang reusable packaging?
We are working hard with retailers directly to ensure our products and processes can integrate with theirs. Yes, automation is the future – but so is sustainability. The two interests and ways forward will have to integrate in all parts of every supply chain, and we are at the crossroads of change. By staying agile and up to date on the retailer’s needs, we aim to supply more sustainable shipment options for all members of the ever-growing eCommerce industry.
How do you see the packaging industry evolving in the coming years?
The shift is coming, aided by government policies and more aware consumers. There will be a tremendous focus on sustainability in all parts of eCommerce and logistics in the coming years. I don’t think we are fully able to fathom how fast the change will hit us – I think it’s a case of “change or die” to be honest. If you’re not ready for the change, your business will soon be rendered irrelevant. This is the harsh truth, and naturally, we support this change, as, without it, we may not have a livable planet for much longer. It is our aim is to help businesses make this shift as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Further information, including partnership links, can be found at https://packoorang.com/
Further Reading: Reusable Packaging: The Sustainable Future. Read More