Innovation Zone

Leading brand owners, retailers, and packaging suppliers trust the Innovation Zone to stay ahead with the latest packaging innovations. Contact us to learn how membership can enhance your company’s understanding.

ThePackHub Startup Snapshot

by Paul Jenkins, Managing Director of ThePackHub.

I’m pleased to share with you an Innovation Zone snapshot update, which provides a glimpse into the emerging trends on ThePackHub’s global packaging innovation platform. We have a brand new report out soon! Check out Refill & Reuse Compendium Vol 3





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Refill and Reuse: The Growing Movement in Sustainable Packaging

This week, we’re taking a deep dive into the world of refillable and reusable packaging. Our Innovation Zone platform continues to see many new initiatives, with 15% of our innovations focusing on refill and reuse over the last three months. It’s one of our identified four major sustainable packaging trends.

As well as many new refill & reuse innovations (more on them below), we’ve also checked recent research and report findings to support this growth claim. For example, a recent Ellen MacArthur Foundation study shows 89% public approval for reusable packaging in aluminium. 86% of respondents express the likelihood of buying preferred brands in reusable aluminium if priced the same as plastic. An overwhelming 93% indicate a likelihood to return reusable aluminium packaging.

Market analysis by the U.S. Plastics Pact and Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy reveals that respondents emphasize the importance of brands offering reusable products and packaging. 56% of respondents deem it important for brands to offer reusable products and packaging, and 47% use reusable products or services weekly. 45% describe the price of reusable solutions as about the same as a single-use product.

Research from City to Sea shows that a significant 69% of consumers express readiness to embrace products in returnable packaging, highlighting a growing interest in sustainable alternatives. Moreover, over half (53%) show a preference for brands offering prefilled returnable packaging, with this figure soaring to 84% among those who have previously engaged with such packaging solutions.


Here are five new refillable and reusable packaging initiatives we think you should know about recently posted to the Innovation Zone.



  1. Gilac, a French plastic food container manufacturer, introduces a sustainable alternative to traditional cardboard packaging for pizzas and cakes. Spearheaded by GM Martin Bouthiaux, their reusable, recyclable round box, made from HDPE, boasts longevity and recyclability. With a ribbed bottom for food freshness and vents to prevent condensation, it comes in seven colours and offers customization opportunities. Manufactured in Gilac’s Ain factory, this initiative helps to promote sustainability and waste reduction in the food industry.
  2. Reuseabox, a UK-based supplier, offers sustainable packaging solutions with used, new, and recycled cardboard boxes, including single-wall, double-wall, pallet boxes, and Octabins. They promote the circular economy, aiming to reduce environmental impact and waste by encouraging cardboard box reuse. Collaborating with the University of Lincoln, their 2022 Impact Report shows significant benefits. Reusing cardboard saves 5 trees, 0.7 tonnes of carbon, 4,315 KWH of energy, and 148,352 litres of water per tonne, demonstrating its environmental effectiveness over recycling.
  3. JDE Peet’s, known for brands like Kenco and Douwe Egberts, has introduced home-recyclable paper refill packs for instant coffee in the UK and Ireland, shifting from plastic to paper. With over 85% paper content, the packaging aims to ease consumer adoption of reusable options and can be recycled at home. After a year of development, the packs offer a 96% reduction in packaging compared to a standard glass jar and a 15-month freshness guarantee. This initiative extends to Kenco and Douwe Egberts packs and introduces L’or to the refill format for the first time.
  4. TOMRA, in partnership with the city of Aarhus in Denmark, has launched a pioneering three-year pilot for reusable takeaway packaging. It’s the world’s first open-managed system, shifting the city from single-use to reusable containers via automated collection points. Businesses and consumers benefit from 24/7 returns with monetary incentives. Initially targeting drink containers, TOMRA aims to expand to other materials, promoting resource efficiency and reducing litter and emissions. Collaboration with Visa, MasterCard, and Shift4 ensures seamless payments. Automated collection and sanitization enables scalability as well as local job creation.
  5. Bower Collective (see interview below), a UK-based leader in reusable packaging, has introduced Packaging As A Service, expanding its circular system to home and personal care brands. Established in 2020, Bower aims to combat plastic waste through its BowerPack system, integrating innovative packaging design, software, and automation. With support from Innovate UK, Bower has served over 110,000 households, eliminating 90,000 kg of single-use plastic. The system boasts an 80% return rate and over 4,300 5-star reviews. Bower aims to offer its sustainable solution to the wider market, featuring end-to-end tracking, real-time data, bespoke design, turnkey management, and potential carbon emissions savings up to 90%.

The resurgence in refillable and reusable initiatives is starting to reshape industries like cosmetics, food, beverage and household. As companies continue to innovate, the market is likely to accelerate. We are still seeing lots of pilots and trials, but we anticipate larger-scale initiatives coming through the innovation pipeline in 2024.

Brand new Compendium Volume 3
Save – now taking early bird orders

We are delighted to announce ThePackHub’s Refillable & Reusable Packaging Compendium Volume 3, your essential guide to navigating the booming refillable and reusable packaging sector. Authored by ThePackHub’s Refill & Reuse Specialist, Wayne Barron, this comprehensive 200-page report offers an in-depth analysis of global trends, showcasing over 150 innovative reuse solutions across a variety of consumer categories.

Discover the leading brands, retailers, and suppliers pioneering in this space and gain insights to grow in this rapidly growing market. Featuring exclusive interviews with ten industry experts and detailed case studies on Dizzie’s successful prefill business model and the Refill Coalition’s Aldi trial, this report is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to make an impact in the reusable packaging landscape.

Find out more and save here

Refill Expert Interview
Nick Torday of Bower Collective

We recently took the opportunity to talk to Nick Torday at Bower Collective. In this 15-minute conversation, Nick talks us through his Bowerpack reusable packaging system.

Until next time. Happy innovating.

ThePackHub Ltd Albany House, 14 Shute End, Wokingham, Berks, RG40 1BJ. Tel: 0118 963 9990 . Email us >