First Drop Points for Reusable Packaging Established
At FACHPACK 2022, the start-up “wir.kiste.kreis.” presented a new take-back system for shipping packages. The idea has now become reality. However, the young entrepreneurs have expanded their concept to include reusable packaging and launched it on the market under the name “reuse.me”. The first drop points are in Southern Germany.
If it’s up to the start-up “wir.kiste.kreis.”, packaging will end up at a take-back point in the future. The new system should be sustainable and economical for retailers while still offering a reward for the clientele. “We are launching the largest sustainability project in the history of online retail,” announce start-up entrepreneurs Rudolf Siegle and Bastian Gegenheimer from Pforzheim. Their company “wir.kiste.kreis.”, one of the start-up exhibitors at FACHPACK 2022, aims to help achieve greater sustainability through a new reusable packaging system.
Siegle has worked in e-commerce logistics for more than ten years. “I know one can make a difference in purchasing towards using less material,” he says. At some point, however, you see that reusable solutions are the even more sustainable option. He had also noticed this before when working at Amazon during his dual studies. Therefore, he says, it is his heart's desire to bring a new concept to the market that is sustainable and economical. “Because if reusable packaging costs 2 or 3 euros more for the retailer, it doesn’t work. If the costs are too high, we don’t even need to start,” says the young entrepreneur.
An Open Loop System
The two Pforzheimer-based innovators started with a lot of passion and spent several months tweaking their concept. “What's new, above all, is the name reuse.me and the fact that we are opening our system not only to shipping packaging, as we initially thought, but to all types of reusable packaging. The prerequisites are that the reusable packaging is recyclable and that there is a life cycle assessment which shows the ecological break-even point,” Siegle explains.
“Reuse.me is an open loop system for reusable packaging. It can be used, for example, to count cycles of reusable packaging, determine transport routes and ultimately evaluate and show their sustainability compared to comparable single-use packaging,” Siegle says.
The first drop point was opened in Pforzheim in May. In June, further drop points will follow in Karlsruhe, Pforzheim, and Enzkreis. These include a DHL parcel store, a photo studio with Hermes parcel store, department stores, and a branch of Intersport. The goal, he says, is to build a network of at least 2,000 drop points by April 2024.
They say the upcoming switch to reusable for end consumers needs to be as simple and convenient as possible. An app for returns will have to be the long-term goal.
The start-up has given the platform a neutral name, reuse.me, which can also be used by other providers of reusable packaging, Siegle says. It essentially consists of three parts, he says: the reuse.me app – for packaging returns by end consumers, the reuse.me drop app – for packaging take-back by drop points, and the reuse.me admin panel – for system management, packaging tracking, and sustainability assessments.
“The offer to the other packaging providers should also be an appeal to track and report their cycles as well. Because every reusable packaging must first go through an individual number of cycles in order to save CO2 compared to single-use packaging. This is called the ecological break-even point. The “wir.kiste.kreis.” packaging, for example, reaches this in the second cycle.”
A Spin on the Wheel of Fortune
The start-up’s concept in a nutshell: The online customer receives the goods in a reusable cardboard box. When the package is no longer needed, they fold it, download the reuse.me app, scan the barcode and take it to a take-back point. A reward then follows, made possible by tracking via the barcode. After the return, customers can spin the wheel of fortune, for example – and win right away – either a coupon for the next purchase or a sustainable material prize. In the future, there will be a classic deposit model with the option of donating to ecological and social projects and organizations.