CYRCOL describes our cross-sector reuse concept, which we developed in 2019. This is intended to correct existing errors in the current reusable system and build a much simpler system for all stakeholders. It shows how reuse will work in the future, and we are currently driving such a system forward with many partners along the supply chain.
Consumers' desire for plastic-free packaging or even unpackaged products is steadily increasing. The new German Packaging Act focuses on and pushes the issue of reuse through its mandatory reusability in the to-go sector as of January 1, 2023. The EU tax on non-recyclable packaging, which has been in force since 2021, will also be passed on to manufacturers in the next few years and will make disposable packaging even more expensive. In many countries, there are already legal measures banning certain disposable packaging.
The known problems of today's recycling approaches for single-use packaging and especially plastic packaging show us that we will not achieve a full circular economy and reuse with them in the next years and decades. Very high investments worldwide and decades of infrastructure development are necessary and many known problems will not be solved with this. So why not invest the money in systems that will permanently reduce our packaging volume, significantly reduce CO2 emissions and costs, and curb natural pollution?
But is this multiple-use approach also feasible in supermarkets, drugstores or overall retail across all sectors? The CYRCOL multiple-use concept pursues precisely this idea.
Counter-arguments for the introduction of a new reusable system are often increased costs, product safety concerns, lack of differentiation in the market, or existing flaws in the current reusable bottle pool.
The new reuse system is intended to eliminate the existing errors and establish a much simpler system for all stakeholders.
The concept of the new reuse system includes the following essential aspects:
– Sturdy packaging made of metal, glass or plastic that allows for easy cleaning and hygiene according to product and packaging requirements
– Modular and stackable packaging containers for efficient use of space during transport and storage
– Central cleaning stations in different regions, allowing containers to be reused close by instead of further empty transport and cleaning at the filler's premises
– Establishment of a new return system also outside the retail sector at publicly accessible, permanently open locations (service stations, reverse vending machines, pick-up, etc.)
– Digital transformation of the deposit system and digital traceability of each container
– Central production and stocking of packages
– Pay-per-use principle for fillers, "product as a service" instead of ownership model
– Pre-financing of start-up quantities by the service provider or through customer deposits
– Repair and recycling of damaged containers
– Possibility of individualization, but focus on standardization and harmonization for more efficient processes