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Online shopping is growing steadily. The products are mostly packed in disposable packaging, which is disposed of by the end consumer. This system leads to a relevant consumption of resources and corresponding amounts of waste. Practical reusable systems for packaging in online and mail-order trade - as conceived, developed and tested in praxPACK - can make a considerable contribution to reducing the packaging-related consumption of resources and the amount of waste.

Packaging material in online shopping

Online shopping in Germany and Europe has been showing continuous growth for years. Products in online trade are mostly packed in one-way shipping packaging, which is disposed of upon receipt of the goods. This linear packaging system leads to a high consumption of resources and corresponding amounts of waste. Current studies show that private end consumers in Germany produce over 750,000 tonnes of paper, cardboard or paperboard packaging and over 50,000 tonnes of plastic packaging per year. A further growth of around 20 percent is expected in online trade by 2020. If the trend of steadily increasing resource consumption in this area is to be broken, innovative solutions at logistics system level and adjustments to business models will be required.

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Here the “praxPACK” project comes in: The aim of the project is to contribute to the establishment and distribution of reusable systems in online trade in order to achieve a substantial reduction of packaging-related resource consumption - and associated waste quantities - in the medium term. For this purpose, the project, under the leadership of the network coordinator Ökopol, aims to develop and test practical reusable concepts in online trade and to gain comprehensive knowledge into how the business models of the actors involved in online trade need to be adapted in order to make the use of reusable systems economically viable.

This knowledge is to be prepared and made available in a systematic and application-oriented manner in order to support further responsible companies from online trade in testing and disseminating the use of reusable systems.

 

Cooperation laboratory and pilot project

The central element of praxPACK is a cooperation laboratory in which the project partners will develop concrete solution elements for the construction of practice-oriented and self-supporting reusable systems. The intensive exchange of experience and learning processes in the development of possible reusable concepts and necessary business model adaptations will play an important role in this process.

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Based on the solution elements and reusable concepts developed jointly by the partners, reusable systems are being tested and further developed in concrete pilot projects at online retailers. These pilot projects will be conducted under the leadership of the three participating online retailers: Tchibo, OTTO and Avocado Store. The implementation of these pilot projects is supported by the expertise of the other partners involved: Cargo Plast, RePack (Plan B), GVM and the associated partners: DPDHL, Jokey, bevh, Händlerbund and the Stiftung Initiative Mehrweg. The Institute Ökopol is responsible for the coordination of the entire project.


Online toolbox and recommendations for action

The findings from the cooperation laboratory are transferred to an online toolbox. This is intended to support interested online retailers in initiating and implementing a reusable system.

In addition, recommendations for action in terms of technical and sector policy will be derived. This includes the identification and analysis of existing obstacles for the broad establishment of reusable systems in online trade due to legal and sub-legal framework conditions and established industry standards of logistics service providers, the development of proposed solutions to overcome these obstacles and the derivation and coordination of recommendations. The addressees of these recommendations for action are the responsible departments in Germany and the EU as well as relevant industry committees.

 


Publications

Project sheet - in German (August 2019)
The project sheet provides a clear overview of the research project.

 

Contributions to the ReziProK Kick-off event im December 2019

Poster - in German (December 2019)

Presentation - in German (December 2019)

Picture credits: jacqueline macou/pixabay; falco/pixabay