Online shopping has seen a massive increase since the lockdown started. In US, e-commerce jumped 49% in April compared to where it was in March, before shelter-in-place restrictions took place. E-commerce companies like Amazon and Walmart have made new hires while delivery companies started limiting clients. What does this all come to? An absurd amount of parcels and packages and in a country like Romania, where over 90% of waste is not recycled, this translates into a problem. Thankfully, one startup came with an innovative solution: returnable packages.
Romanian startup R-Create thought of a solution to reduce the amount of waste produced by parcels and packages: returnable wrapping.
Between May 20 – June 2, they teamed up with FAN Courier and Sinapseria delivery companies as well as online book shop carturesti.ro to allow their customers to test the special packages.
Unlike normal cardboard boxes, the R-Create packages are made from polypropylene and can be used up to 20 times. The couriers seal the orders in these special packages, unseal them when they reach the customer, drop the order, and then take the packages back.
When the R-Create packages have reached their limits, the startup takes them and recycles them in order to create new ones. A maximum of 3 objects/books can be carried in this type of package. For bigger orders, carboard boxes are still the way to go.
R-Create has been working on their returnable packages since last year, when they earned first prize for best recycling idea at the ReuseHub Accelerator organized by Impact Hub and PEPSICO.
Online shops can choose to test for free this solution right now, but hopefully, R-Create packages will soon be available on a larger scale.
After all, the increase in online orders caused by the lockdown measures has taken a big toll on the environment in Romania. Here, there are about 8 million tons of waste produced annually, with over 90% not being recycled properly.
Can this movement inspire others? Would you like to see a similar solution in your country? Tell us in the comments!