3 key learnings on how to tackle single-use sachets through collaborations

How is collaboration making Koinpack more successful? That’s the question we asked our speakers during our three-year anniversary webinar’s first session. Our venture Koinpack is a reuse system that offers daily household products in reusable bottles to reduce single-use plastic sachets. We asked its director Bintang Ekananda to tell us a little more about the topic. We were also joined by ALPLA’s innovation manager Danilo Grieco and Waste Bank Nusantara LPBI NU’s managing director Fitria Ariyani who shared their insights on collaborating with a refill start-up.

1. Collaborations are particularly interesting to explore solutions for new problems like sachets

Several years ago, ALPLA, a world leader in developing and producing innovative plastic packaging, took a dive into reusable beverage bottles. However, using reuse to tackle single-use sachets was entirely new to them. Therefore, ALPLA saw an opportunity to team up with Koinpack to support the venture in developing quality reusables that Koinpack needed to grow and become scalable. This way, ALPLA could benefit from Koinpack’s knowledge of customer interactions with refill solutions and explore this new product category and market on a small scale. From Koinpack’s side, this gave them a headstart and the opportunity to learn from ALPLA’s experience in packaging, materials, and cleaning.

2. By combining the speed of start-ups with the experience of a corporate, we can rapidly develop better products

The differences between start-ups and corporates are what allow them to compete with each other. It is important to recognize and appreciate their very different strengths, weaknesses and ways of working. Collaboration allows each party to take a step back, look at the situation from a different point of view and find the missing piece of the puzzle. Danilo explained that “established enterprises with their proven practices and processes have a very hard time changing things up, challenging what has worked for a long time, or allocating resources to try new things. They are strong when executing a clear goal with a set outcome, but they struggle when a very dynamic approach is required.” In contrast, Bintang explained how start-ups are not afraid to explore and quickly adapt strategies when something is not working. It is the flexibility and fearlessness to find solutions to unanswered questions that start-ups have, and corporates don’t. 

On the other hand, startups can learn from corporates’ expertise and benefit from their resources to more effectively tackle the issue at the source. Indeed, corporates have more resources, whether financial, human, or educational. For a start-up, costs matter far more due to their limited budgets. Collaboration between start-ups and corporates is a win-win. Each brings its strengths to address the other’s weaknesses. Koinpack’s is living proof of this. They can bring a more valuable product to the consumer as a direct result of ALPLA’s expertise and resources, whilst at the same time providing ALPLA with insights into a new market and a thorough understanding of the reuse ecosystem.

3. Refill solutions and waste banks partnering is a new way to involve local communities and expand the reach of refill solutions

Fitria Ariyani introduced the concept of a waste bank and explained how they contribute to local communities. A waste bank is an entity that collects waste in exchange for money or electricity. Waste is gathered then segregated and recycled. However, single-use sachets throw a spanner in the works. Sachets are nearly impossible to recycle and represent a low value compared to sturdier plastics. Waste banks cannot sustainably dispose of sachets and ultimately end up going to landfills where they run the risk of leaking into our environment.

Koinpack is running training and using these waste banks as a site to onboard new customers. This way, waste banks can also earn additional revenue from selling products in reusable packaging. As Fitria explained, Koinpack’s partnership with Waste Bank Nusantara LPBI NU, one of the biggest waste banks in Indonesia, has brought tangible value to their local communities. Moreover, price is a primary factor for these community members and is a key driver of purchasing intent. By offering reusable products at competitive prices, Koinpack actively drives the reuse movement.

Together, we can achieve much more

Refill and reuse solutions are still very new for the general market, and impactful reuse solutions like Koinpack must reach scale if we want to achieve meaningful changes in the way we consume. By collaborating with other organizations, refill and reuse solutions can strengthen their path to scale, develop innovations to tackle unsolved problems experienced by existing corporate players, and ensure their solution reaches the widest market possible. While there is so much we can achieve alone, by trying to do everything on our own we miss out on so much opportunity. Collaboration is key to achieving impact at scale and driving a reuse revolution. 

If you can do it alone, you’re not thinking big enough

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