Any further feedback on how to improve the project?
Coming from logistics point of view, I would like to share some practical thoughts to improve on this project. One important aspect that the team needs to tackle on is PDPA compliance. Personal information of customers such as name, address, mobile, email etc.. are displayed on the packaging for delivery purpose, the team has to come up with a solution to remove all personal information of previous customer before reusing the container for the next delivery. There are several common methods used for labelling parcel, the most economical and common way is to print the delivery information on an adhesive paper and stick it on the box. Removing such labels are difficult and often damage the packaging, making the box unsuitable to be reuse. Another method which is use for international delivery is to attached a resealable envelope on the box to contain important documents such as safety data sheets for custom clearance. This could be a solution for the team to consider, attaching a resealable envelope on the parcel box and put the delivery information in the resealable envelope to do the delivery. When returning the parcel box, the customer would just have to remove their information from the envelope and the parcel box could be reuse with no trace of sensitive information from the previous customer.
Usual e-commerce parcel comes in 2 layer of packaging, the outer layer is packaging of the courier company and inner layer is packaging of the consumer products itself. So apart from partnering with local stores, the team might also want to look into the courier companies that are fulfilling these orders, is there any possibility to reuse the outer packaging as well.
The last point I would like to bring up for the team to consider is hygiene and safety to reuse the packaging. In the unfortunate event where a customer who place an order had covid, how to ensure the safety of delivery personal who are collecting back the containers. The current practice of e-commerce order fulfilment is one way delivery, to collect back the container would increase risk for spread of covid as there will be two way delivery. One suggestion I have would be to set up container drop off point where customers could drop their container in after they received their products. This would minimize contact for the delivery personal collecting back the containers.
I believe thinking of new ways to consider our plastic packaging is essential. We are so used to single-use plastics that we struggle to consider other alternatives because of how convenient single-use plastics is. In this case I believe the problem is not how to reduce single-use plastics but how to change the minds of people who do not care. I think that the project is commendable precisely because it ensures the convenience of both the store owners who adopt these packagings and the consumer from whom ECOPack is collected back from. By making it a hassle-free eco-system, the packaging can be re-used to its end of life. As a response to previous comments regarding cost, from the point of view of a consumer, if my ECOPack is collected from me, and there is a premium charged for such a service, I would gladly pay for it knowing that I am doing my part for the environment. Secondly, given the impassioned responses in this feedback thread alone, we can garner enough voices to be heard in the government. A lot of policies and lifestyle practices stem from having a large financial and institutional backing that has a larger impact than the voice of just one of us. The government already has funds in place for such initiatives like the 3P Partnership Fund, Call for Ideas Fund (CIF) and I could see this project gaining traction with F and B, retail and electronics just to name a few. Indeed the environmental impact of transporting packages around needs to be calculated and compared against the production and eventual waste of single use packaging. If ECOPack develops a system where returning used packagings becomes as simple as going to work, then the project would be a massive success.
If you’re talking about plastic, I’m guessing you’re referring to those plastic mail bags, some of which are sometimes padded with bubble wrap. Are you thinking about re-using these (will need to remove the customer’s name, number and address details that gets stuck onto them) or designing your own reusable container altogether? How do you intend to collect and re-distribute them? E.g. you might set up a collection point at local supermarkets, but will customers bother to return their containers and who is going to be responsible for bringing them to businesses? Is there any incentive for businesses to get on board, given that it’ll likely complicate their operations and increase their costs?
Will be good to consider how to operationalise the project. There are so many sizes/shapes of products, and it is inconceivable to have containers that match all of them. So you can only have fixed sizes (e.g. XS, S, M, L, XL), which causes the issues of wasted space in the container, and ultimately in delivery (you can fit fewer packages in the vehicle). Does this then translate to more carbon emissions from increased transportation?
We have to consider the convenience involved in this solution, well giving incentives If the containers are brought back could be plausible, however will it change public's mindset. At the end of the day it comes down to that. To make anything permanent, the solution should be properly integrated into their lives.
Agree with all of the previous comments - it would be important to find out where the additional costs would lie. Would the consumers/ food stall owners be bearing the additional cost? And how can you convince both parties to take on your initiative? I believe that if additional cost burden is placed on the customers, it may deter them from purchasing the food and this could affect food stall owners adversely. So perhaps we could look at perhaps a special kind of container (maybe customisable/ aesthetically appealing etc) to sell it to consumers through hawkers. This would be effective if the problem you have identified is that consumers do not have containers available for takeaway, and could encourage repeated use of the containers after initial purchase from you :)
Most affordable food options are at hawker centres. Perhaps you can look at working with the associations at hawker centres to get their stalls on board. The centre itself could have a container collection bay for people to return the reusable containers they "rented" from the centre. Containers can have the centre's name emblazoned across to prevent theft, and could be rented at a refundable deposit of e.g. $2. The concept is similar to how Christmas markets in Europe charge ~€3 deposit for their nice christmasy mulled wine cups.
maybe this will only work for certain products that are used up quickly. otherwise container may not be in the optimal condition when it has been used for too long
You mentioned that the reusable containers will be collected back from users, was just wondering how you are intending to do so. Who would be the ones bearing the cost of collecting the containers back? Would you have to provide this service? Would the businesses that you partner with have to invest funds for this service? Would consumers have to pay a premium. Would be great to perhaps think about how you would convince businesses and consumers to participate in your initiative!
Look into a competitive concept initiated by Huskee Australia
Zhong Han Lee
For the idea to create an ecosystem where local stores can partner up with them to sell their products in reusable containers, how is your idea different from existing platforms like barepack and MUUSE?