Durable Rather Than Disposable


Reusable packaging may be the future of sustainability and smart branding.

Today consumer’s behavior expects lightningfast shipping service. Free or nextday shipping is becoming a basic requirement.

However, the cost of speed is increasing packaging waste at an alarming rate. Packaging makes up one-third or more of our trash, according to TheWorldCounts.com. How often have you ordered something online that came in a box too big for the item you ordered? All those one-item Amazon Prime orders add up to lots of packaging. A growing trend to counter the problem that could have interesting applications for the direct selling industry is in eco-friendly, durable and reusable packaging.

Yes, reusable.

The concept is referred to as a Loop system—a platform announced at the World Economic Forum.

TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based company, created the system involving durable packages that are used and returned to be cleaned and then refilled for repeat use.

“It has the same convenience of disposability,” says TerraCycle co-founder Tom Szaky in an Inc.com article. “This is how we move packaging and products from being disposable and owned by the consumer to being durable and borrowed by the consumer. Packaging becomes a service.”

“With consumer acceptance growing, we now have the opportunity to view packaging as durable rather than disposable and offer solutions that are truly sustainable while delivering usage experiences never before possible,” the Inc. com article claims.

This process also provides brand awareness opportunities and additional value for customers. Reusable packages can feature technologies such as a supplement bottle that reminds customers when to take the product or when to reorder. How about a self-sealing package that ensures freshness? Not tossing the packaging in the trash makes it a much bigger part of the overall customer experience. Many direct selling companies already use starter kit boxes for new distributors that double as a product holder, educational piece or display item for the business.

Quaker Oats is testing a stylish metal canister that customers may want to display on their counter instead of hiding it in a pantry. Brooklyn’s The Wally Shop delivers local groceries in reusable containers and bags. Häagen-Dazs created a double-walled stainless-steel ice cream tub that keeps ice cream cold longer than a normal cardboard container.

Reusable, durable and “smart” packaging is coming, and its future is all about sustainability, functionality, branding and user experience.