Portland, Oregon-based Bold Reuse has launched Retail Reuse, a retail reusable pilot packaging program for glass retail packaging.
Retail Reuse has the backing of Oregon Metro, New Seasons Market, Waste-Free Advocates and PNW Packaged Food & Beverage Group’s Hannah Kullberg.
Thanks to an $87,000 investment and innovation grant from Metro in 2022, Bold Reuse has developed a closed-loop reuse model for glass bottles and jars that are used by food manufacturers to package their products. The pilot program will operate until early 2024 and aims to provide substantial environmental and economic benefits by reducing emissions and costs associated with recycling and landfilling.
“We are honored to work alongside this group of trailblazers to establish a first-of-its-kind retail reuse program using existing shelf-stable product packaging,” said Jocelyn Quarrell, CEO of Bold Reuse.
“Our objective is to create a scalable system that food manufacturers and retailers can access effortlessly as we expand our services nationwide.”
Bold Reuse is supported at New Seasons Market stores in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Throughout the four years of its partnership, the two organizations have facilitated more than 76,000 reuse cycles.
“One of our most important sustainable packaging strategies is developing systems that allow our customers to have a lighter environmental footprint when they shop with us,” said Athena Petty, senior manager of sustainability at New Seasons Market.
“Through this unique partnership – and with the support of Metro – this reuse project will help us build the infrastructure to do just that.”
The partnership aims to develop, implement and track the impacts of reusable packaging for retail food products produced by local companies in the Portland metropolitan area. Customers will be able to purchase products from participating vendors. Once customers have finished the product, they can return and drop used packaging in the Bold Reuse drop box at all New Seasons Markets locations. Bold Reuse collects, washes and sanitizes the containers, then distributes the packaging back to vendors.
“The cost of glass packaging has hit an all time high. This is forcing manufacturers to move to less sustainable options like pouches and plastic. We need to develop a new system of reuse to allow makers to continue using the highest quality packaging for their products,” Kullberg said.
Many makers in the food and beverage community offer glass return programs. Some businesses accept glass returns, but they stack up waiting to be washed. Other businesses turn away customers with glass to return because they lack the capacity or proper sanitizing system. This program will offer ease, making glass return a possibility on a larger scale.
Vendors participating in this program are Ground Up Nut Butter, Hot Mama Salsa, Sauvie Shrubs, Mickelberry Gardens and Sibeiho. Customers will be able to enjoy products and return the packaging to be reused again. As the program gains momentum, more vendors will have the opportunity to onboard.
For more information, visit boldreuse.com.