Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Again

A new approach to circular packaging


Again’s decentralised cleaning facilities help brands remove single-use packaging from their supply chains by repurposing used items

Spotted: In the UK, slightly more than 80 per cent of consumers say they prefer eco-friendly packaging, and this growing trend of favouring sustainably packed items can be seen across the globe. Using recyclable materials is one way brands are becoming more sustainable, but often this isn’t enough. For example, a lot of recyclable materials aren’t disposed of correctly, so cannot be recycled properly. 

Reusable packaging is an alternative solution that is gaining momentum. But the technology needed to sort and clean packaging for future reuse is not yet firmly established. Seeing a gap in the market, London-based startup Again has created an automated cleaning service that makes it possible for brands to reuse their packaging materials.  

Called CleanCells, the micro-factories use robotics to bring reuse technology to businesses. The facilities service multiple organisations in each location, helping to keep costs low enough for small and medium enterprises to afford the service. And Again purposefully matches the price of its services to that of single-use plastics and other packaging in order to encourage the take-up of its circular system.   

The CleanCells are situated near or within logistics hubs to reduce transport costs and each can clean up to 500,000 units of packaging per month. From visual inspection to in-line microbiological and allergenic monitoring, the company’s quality assurance ensures that food-grade packaging remains safe to use. Meanwhile, an accompanying software platform allows companies to manage and monitor their packaging supply chain.

Springwise has spotted other innovators in the archive working to turn single-use packaging into a circular model, including one for takeaway lunches and another cutting single-use food waste across US universities.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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