Renew or Reuse? For many companies, this question is not easy to answer when choosing their packaging. At least this remains clear: Reuse means reusing the packaging without recycling it - a solution that would deserve 4 out of 5 stars in any case. At best, it would only be better to do without packaging altogether. But (as we have shown in our article) that may not work in many cases either, especially in a rapidly growing online business.
Renew, on the other hand, means improving non-reusable packaging through design in such a way that its ecological footprint is reduced - for example, by relying on renewable raw materials. At first glance, the prioritization of the two variants seems pretty clear: Reuse obviously comes before Renew as far as the sustainability aspect is concerned. If there weren't a few restrictions. In the B2C sector, for example, the length of the transport route until a package can be refilled and the availability or non-availability of collection systems. 'In the B2B sector, on the other hand, Reuse packaging or containers have already become established in many areas, because frequently recurring customers are supplied, the containers can be collected and returned relatively easily. There is currently also an European initiative to track these large containers - also in the food sector - and to keep them in circulation via certified cleaning and transport routes', explains Peter Désilets.
If these conditions are met, Reuse not only works for the beer bottle, but also for highly complex components in the automotive industry, for example. Two figures show just how great the positive impact can be: Around 75% of CO2 emissions are caused by the operation of vehicles, for which the automotive sector is responsible, but almost 20% are caused by the supply chain alone. These figures will fall significantly in the next few years with the increase in alternative drive systems such as electric or hydrogen. Two statements from a glass network day in November 2021 show how differently this outlook is received, where Peter Désilets states, 'While in the morning the fear was discussed that the CO2 price per ton should preferably not rise above €25, in the evening we heard the casual statement in response to our suggestion of new reusable systems: "If the production of glass is CO2 neutral in the future, it will no longer make any difference whether we use disposable or reusable containers". The view of the future could hardly be more different.'