The September Issue of fashion magazines are the most anticipated ones, showcasing all the new trends in fashion, marking the time when fashionistas flock to the stores to update their wardrobe with the latest statement pieces. Now fall is still the time to refresh our looks, but as we can do all the shopping from the comfort of our homes, we tend to overdo it a tad. And the amount of packaging that comes with is the real issue that needs to be solved.

Finnish company RePack is on a mission to reduce this waste by providing reusable packaging. They were originally set out to encourage Finnish companies to design sustainable products with new business models and were challenged to create something themselves as a concrete example of what they meant. The idea is simple: you receive your items in reusable packaging that you can return to be used again. This way, you won’t have to deal with enormous amount of boxes and sachets, but receive one sustainable item that you return via post or simply drop it off at a designated place.

Funding for development

Now RePack received 2M EUR from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 initiative, the biggest EU Research and Innovation program ever, helping to achieve competitiveness with emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. With this funding, RePack seeks to test and create the best possible solutions for the consumers’ convenience.

“RePack is in use in over 15 countries at the moment and over 50 web stores. The demand for solutions that remove single-use packaging waste is enormous. This funding helps us to scale the model further.” – says Jonne Hellgren, CEO & Co-Founder, RePack.

Partnerships pave the way

Partnerships are key to move forward and this fall, they have started not one, but two pilots with fashion and e-commerce giants H&M and Zalando. The Zalando pilot covers the Nordics, while with H&M Group’s Weekday brand, RePack is piloting all across Europe. 

“As the whole service is part of the product, we are testing what is best for the end consumer. What do they think about the idea of reusable packaging?  How do they want to return them: when and where do they prefer to drop off the packaging, via post or specific stores? We are learning about the real-life usage of our product through these pilots to further develop our service.” – Hellgren adds.

There is also a lot of education that needs to be done as recycling methods are not equally popular across Europe and consumers are still not conscious enough to go for the sustainable solution if there is extra cost affiliated with it. So RePack’s approach is to eventually make their reusable packaging a cheaper option than simple packaging.