Overcoming the Cost of Reusable Alternatives through Digitalization: Our Second Zero Waste Meetup

Motivated by the success of our last meetup, we held another! This time we met amongst the lush hillside jungle of Bandung to discuss the use of digitization to fuel reuse systems and reduce single-use plastics.  

Whilst single-use plastics still hold an unfair advantage, the emerging digitalization of reuse system could create a clear opportunity for reusables to bring convenience and efficiency to the next level.

Digitizing Reuse Systems: Three Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Led by experts behind three start-ups cutting single use plastics, our keynote speakers discussed the strategies being used to enable scalability and customer acceptance. Ditta, associate project manager from Refill, an app that allows customers to gain access to clean water refill stations, discussed the importance of keeping scalability and at the forefront of app design and stressed the importance of measuring impact in order to facilitate funding & convince customers.

A key challenge faced by reusables and sustainable business in general is building trust and convincing the customer that your solution is legitimate. Speaking on behalf of Kecipir, an organic e-commerce platform delivering with reusable containers, Lead developer Ano stressed the emphasis they placed on increasing transparency and trust in order to convince customers that their produce is indeed organic.

Hanna from Revolv covered the unique challenge faced by their circular platform – making sure individual cafes had the storage capacity to hold reusable containers. Given the wide-ranging impact of transitioning to reusables, challenges should be expected on many levels and must be approached holistically.

How can we deliver small portions without plastics?

This was the question tackled during our workshop session. Entrepreneurial solutions ranged from the sale of concentrates and shipping active ingredients to decentralized community driven bulk purchasing (ala Mass Drop) and home based 3d printing of personal care products.

On the policy level the need for a packaging tax to level the playing field for reusables was identified. This could be implemented as a flat tax or a scaling number based on the recyclability of component materials – thus making unsustainable products like multi-layer sachets significantly more expensive.

Collaboration to speed up Change

We’re extremely grateful of all the motivated entrepreneurs from across Indonesia who took the time to join us and share the expertise with fellow participants. In the words of Hartini from Ecovivo: “It is always energizing to meet, listen and share among all of you. It’s for more than just inspiring one another, it’s about to create the opportunity for collaboration.”

It almost goes without saying, but the incredible motivation and passion shown by the attendees has us more hopeful than ever that real change can happen! We’re sure there will be many more meet ups to come and hope to see you there next time!

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All photos and graphics by Zero Waste Living Lab, a program by enviu and Plastic Solutions Fund.

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