German initiative aims to encourage reusable packaging

DHL and the retailers Otto and Tchibo are among the companies taking part in a new scheme in Germany that aims to reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions through reusable packaging.

The three-year Praxpack scheme, funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, will see goods being despatched in reusable bags from RePack.

When the customer gets their delivery, they then post the packaging back to a return address.

The retailers will introduce the new packages from the beginning of next year.

“The Otto Group wants to contribute to the establishment and dissemination of reusable systems in online retail in order to substantially reduce the packaging-related use of resources,’ an Otto spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Re-usable packaging schemes are also taking off in other countries.

In the UK, for example, the Staffordshire-based green packaging specialist Woolcool has this week launched a new ‘circular economy scheme’ allowing customers to return their packages at more than 7,000 stores and collection points operated by the CollectPlus parcel network so they can be used again. Woolcool makes packages which uses sheep wool to insulate food and pharmaceutical products. When the re-usable packages are returned, the wool is washed and prepared for reuse.

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