Starbucks wants to push more consumers towards reusable packaging

‘Bring it Back Fund’: Starbucks serves up grants for reusable packaging ideas

Coffee chain Starbucks and environmental charity Hubbub have revealed those who will share its £1.4 million fund to advance the field of reusable packaging.

The Bring it Back Fund, which was created earlier this year to fund new solutions and systems for reusable packaging in the food and beverage industry, has given the green light to six organisations in the UK to test their concepts. The first pilots will start in the coming months, with each project aiming – in different ways – to try and shift people’s habits towards alternatives to single-use packaging.

Be it through behaviour-change incentives, research projects, new technology, the expansion of existing successful reuse systems, or developing entirely new service models, these half a dozen organisations are tackling the task in ways they deem most appropriate.

The six organisations, which started the application process in May, are, as follows:

Keep Scotland Beautiful: this charitable organisation will trial a large-scale reusable cup deposit scheme for the first time in Scotland, starting in the Highlands, in collaboration with NorthCoast 500, Zero Waste Scotland, and Highland Good Food Partnership.

Green Street: this returnable coffee cup and food packaging system in Bradford will work with local cafes and restaurants, including lead partners Bread + Roses and My Lahore, and the system will trial reward incentives with digital rewards platform Maybe*. Read more about Green Street on Green Retail World.

Reath Technology: this Edinburgh-based tech company will be building upon its existing reuse and RFID technology to create more advanced reuse tracking software, and a customisable footprint calculator, to help demonstrate how reuse performs well commercially and environmentally.

Again: the company operates a network of proprietary packaging cleaning facilities. In partnership with meal delivery platforms, restaurant chains, and independent delivery kitchen operator Karma Kitchen, the business will test how localised doorstep at-home collection of reusable packaging in London can increase the uptake of reuse systems.

junee: this start-up is partnering with food market Mercato Metropolitano in south London to test how to eliminate single-use food packaging at the market by making reuse the default option for customers, price competitive for traders, and operationally simple for all parties by connecting logistics and washing support.

PECT: this environmental charity will research perceptions and barriers around reusable packaging, running behaviour change trials within local communities and specific groups in Peterborough to increase reuse. This will be done in partnership with Recoup, a charity and leading authority providing expertise and guidance across the plastics recycling value chain.

Gavin Ellis, director & co-founder of Hubbub, commented: “We were highly impressed with the quality of the entries received and we are looking forward to working with the winners to tackle this major environmental problem.”

Alex Rayner, general manager at Starbucks UK, added: “We’ve introduced an array of different reusable activations over the years to test and trial new ways to encourage reuse.

“Our latest work with Hubbub, the Bring It Back Fund, builds on our reusables work, aiming to find new ways to inspire people and our customers to choose to reuse. It is important for us as a company that we continue to drive industry-wide innovation, as we work to increase reusability and inspire greater reusables uptake in local communities across the UK.”

Garance Boullenger, project manager at Ellen MacArthur Foundation, was one of the experts on the judging panel.

She said: “To solve plastics pollution, there needs to be an increase in investment towards redesigning products and eliminating waste from the beginning.

“It’s great to see the growth in funding of impactful innovations in the reuse space, and we look forward to seeing how the learnings from the implementation of these projects can accelerate the transition to a circular economy for plastics.”

Dr Garrath Wilson, senior lecturer in experience design at Loughborough University, was among the other experts who took part in the process to find the new reusable packaging solutions.

The fund is supported by Starbucks 5p cup charge which is applied when a customer chooses to use a single-use paper cup. Starbucks has donated all funds from this initiative – which started in 2018 – to Hubbub to support waste reduction efforts.

[Image credit: Starbucks]

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