The keys to hitting reuse and refill targets have been revealed in a new report from Root, with a clear roadmap, transparency surrounding environmental benefits, and an understanding of consumers’ needs listed among the important features.

Root has observed that some businesses are still having trouble scaling their reusable and refillable solutions as legislation surrounding reusable packaging unfolded across Europe over the last year.

In general, it underlines the importance of understanding data, collaborating across the supply chain, and uplifting the most impactful workstreams as the finalization of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation is expected to enforce reuse mandates across additional sectors.

Firstly, Root notes that legislation is phasing out single-use packaging in global efforts to tackle climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. This includes the UNEP Global Plastics Treaty, with the latest negotiations taking place at INC-3 in Nairobi.

On national and regional levels, reuse legislation is starting to include mandates offerings of reusable packaging, as well as packaging taxes and restrictions on single-use plastics. It remains unclear whether these measures will successfully cut down on single-use plastic consumption, and it is possible that minimum reuse targets may be required to increase the uptake of reusable packaging.

In Root’s view, single-use solutions are slowing the adoption of reusable packaging, especially in on-the-go applications. Mandates are being introduced to try and overcome the preference for single-use by introducing reuse as an alternative that is ‘commercially on-par’.

These measures are also set to require brands to communicate the environmental benefits of reuse – and, in sectors where the differentiation applies, its reduced environmental impact over single-use.

Furthermore, Root underlines the importance of ‘seamless engagement throughout the value chain’ in establishing a successful reuse system. It notes that citizen research will help brands meet consumer needs in terms of commercial, cultural, and accessibility concerns, which would theoretically boost return rates and encourage further participation.

This could be difficult, the report continues, where legislative requirements and patterns of consumer behaviour may differ between markets. It is thought that setting realistic and flexible targets, as well as defining boundaries, are necessary measures to understanding the success of a reuse scheme.

By having a solution scaled and ready to launch across multiple markets, it is anticipated that brands will be able to cut down on both costs and time to market.

Finally, Root adds that a successful transition into reuse depends on establishing a ‘definitive and adaptable plan’ that is communicated to all stakeholders. Brands should set out roadmaps that are clear about a reuse system’s vision and goals, ensuring that everyone is working towards the same targets.

Root encourages industry players looking to overcome a packaging-related issue to book a 30-minute, no-obligation call with Root’s founder and director Tracy Sutton via this link.

Previously, Root stated that a lack of guidelines, unclear expectations of life cycle analyses, and reluctance to adapt existing business models were among the factors holding businesses back from succeeding in reusable packaging systems.

Another report from Hubbub summarized the impact and learnings from six reuse projects funded by its Bring It Back Fund and revealed five ‘key ingredients’ hoped to inform the creation of further reuse and return systems for food and beverages.

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