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Interview: Christof Trowitz, Business Developer, Repack

“Recycling is good, reusing is better”

Shopping without leaving the house is becoming more and more a matter of course. But this convenience also has disadvantages: First and foremost, high CO2 emissions and tons of packaging waste. The Finnish start-up Repack offers a solution to these problems with a reusable packaging system for online retail. Christof Trowitz, Business Developer at Repack, already discussed the future of e-commerce in January 2020 in the panel talk "Returns Reloaded - Cloud Driven Efficiency" on the Fashionsustain stage at Neonyt and now gives an insight into the innovative development of the industry.

August 2020

Mister Trowitz, the start-up Repack was founded in 2011. Since then, many companies such as Zalando, Otto and Tchibo have tested your products and ideas. What challenges did they face in the process?

Generally, one big challenge for big companies is the coordination of the decision process among various departments and people, that need to be on board for the project – from marketing, IT, logistics, controlling, just to name a few. This is different to a small webstore, where the owner still has oversight of all processes and simply decides to start with Repack within a week or so.  

By extending the life cycle, CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to 80 percent. Aside from environmental protection what are the advantages of a reusable system for the company?

With Repack, the company has the chance to send out a bold message to the people: We care for the environment and are committed to be part of the solution by driving the way we collectively produce and consume from a linear into a circular approach. Besides that, we have also integrated an incentive system for returning the Repacks, which works like a marketplace, where participating webshops have the chance to gain new sales from.  

What has to change so that reusable packaging becomes the new standard?

The most important thing is wide spread awareness of the fact, that there are existing alternatives to single use packaging, and that, generally speaking, recycling things is good, but reusing things is better. Also, the whole reuse system needs to scale dramatically in order to become as cost efficient as single use packaging. The partnerships with the above-mentioned e-commerce giants Zalando, Otto and Tchibo gives us the opportunity to learn a lot about scaling the system and getting costs down. 

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