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Business Case to Inspire: Swapbox (Netherlands)

PackTech Ventures - Newsletter #3 – January 2023

Single-use packaging is waste: reusable packaging is 80% more environmentally friendly than single-use packaging. Compostable or biodegradable packaging still creates waste and microplastics that end up in landfills or incinerators. Only 9% of all plastic produced worldwide has been recycled. Most of times, packaging is used for minutes, but pollutes our planet for decades. EU Community banned single-use plastic in Jul’22, effective in 1 year (Jul’23). It will be mandatory to offer reusable ṕackaging options to customers, and disposable packaging containing (bio)plastic will have to be charged to customers.

SwapBox’ packaging concept aims to be sustainable by reusing materials in two ways. Firstly, by producing packaging that can be reused at least 300 times and up to 500 times before being recycled. And secondly, recycling in a closed loop, means that all SwapBox packaging products that are no longer usable will be returned to the manufacturers, who will use them to manufacture new SwapBox packaging products.

One example of how SwapBox works – in this case, operating alongside a catering kitchen – is the case with Bain & Co and LinkedIN offices in Amsterdan. Each day, the catering kitchen prepares the meals in SwapBoxes for multiple offices in the Rembrandt Tower in Amsterdam. The packaging is tracked on separately office accounts. Meals are delivered to each office, where employees enjoy the meal, and drop off the SwapBoxes in collection bins. At the end of each day, a SwapBox employee brings fresh packaging while picking up used packaging.

The model developed for street restaurants involves an APP and takeaways:

Step 1 - A guest walks in, orders takeaway and decides to use SwapBox;

Step 2 - The kitchen prepares meals as usual but using a SwapBox packaging;

Step 3 - Ask your guest to show their QR code and scan it with the SwapBox app;

Step 4 - Using the SwapBox app, scan the SwapBox to complete the order.

According to Swapbox, it is a win-win solutions for restaurants, saving on packaging costs and working as an engagement tool with customers. Besides, it is compliant with the new EU regulation banning single-use plastics, particularly in restaurants.

For more information about Swapbox, visit the website:

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