Logo PraxPack  

User-integrated development and testing of business models for reusable packaging solutions in online retailing

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praxpack in the media

Online retailing has been growing continuously in Germany and Europe for years. Typically, products in online retailing are packed in single-use shipping packaging, which is disposed of by the consumer upon receipt of the goods.

This linear packaging system results in a high resource consumption and a corresponding amount of waste: According to the current state of research, private end consumers in Germany produce over 750,000 tonnes of paper, cardboard or paperboard packaging and over 50,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from online retailing per year. A further growth of approximately 20% by 2020 is expected.

If this trend is to be broken, innovative solutions at system level as well as adjustments to the business models are urgently required.

Objectives of the project

The overall aim of the BMBF-funded research project is to contribute to the establishment and prevalence of reusable shipping packaging systems in online retailing in order to achieve a substantial reduction of resource consumption and associated amounts of waste in the mid-term. Therefore, within the project…

…practicable reusable packaging concepts in online retailing will be developed and tested in pilot projects (Subgoal 1)

…comprehensive insights will be gained on how business models of the actors involved in online retailing need to be adapted so that the use of reusable packaging systems is economically viable (Subgoal 2) and

…this knowledge will be made available and disseminated in an application-oriented manner in order to support further actors in the online trade sector in testing and broadening the use of reusable systems (Subgoal 3).

Cooperation Lab and Pilot Projects

The core element of praxpack is a “cooperation laboratory” in which the project partners Tchibo, OTTO and Avocado Store are developing concrete solution elements for the setup of practicable and economically viable reusable packaging systems. Here, joint learning plays an important role in the development of possible reusable packaging concepts and business model adaptations.

Based on the solution elements and reusable packaging concepts developed jointly by the partners, reusable packaging systems will be tested and further developed in concrete pilot projects with the participating online retailers.

The implementation of these pilot projects is supported by the expertise of the other partners involved: Cargo Plast and GVM - Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung, the associated partners Deutsche Post DHL Group, Jokey, Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland e.V. (bevh), Händlerbund Management AG and the Stiftung Initiative Mehrweg (SIM) as well as the subcontractors Plan B/RePack and memo AG.

Online toolbox and recommendations for action

The insights from the cooperation lab are compiled into an online toolbox to support interested online trade companies in initiating and implementing reusable packaging systems. It includes the elaborated project results in an application-oriented way as well as further support material like checklists and fact sheets.

In addition, recommendations for action for relevant industry sectors and policy makers are derived. These recommendations are based on a systematic analysis of existing obstacles - including legal and sub-legal frameworks and established industry standards of logistics service providers.

The addressees of these recommendations are government departments in Germany and the EU as well as relevant industry bodies.

Project team

The Ökopol Institute coordinates the overall project and elaborates cross-sectional issues.

The partners involved are Avocado Store, OTTO, Tchibo, Cargo Plast and GVM - Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung.

Memo AG and PlanB/RePack are involved in the project as subcontractors.

Associated partners of the project are bevh, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Händlerbund, Jokey and the Stiftung Initiative Mehrweg (SIM).