Starting this week, in Kvartali Coop Maksimarket in Tartu it will be possible to buy food in reusable packaging. The Coop retail chain was the first one to join the new initiative. The pilot project will last 6 months.
According to Janek Balõnski, co-founder of reusable packaging company Ringo Eco, the pilot project aims to find out how consumers make decisions in the store and how to make the service even more convenient for the buyers: “Ringo’s logic is simple – instead of disposal the life of packaging is extended by washing and reusing it. Consumers can select special reusable packaging at the grocery store, pay a service fee and a small deposit, and then return the packaging to a Ringo return container to receive the deposit back. Ringo’s goal is to reduce the amount of single-use food packaging.”
As a market leader, the company is constantly looking for ways to make its work more environmentally friendly, says Martin Miido, head of communications at Coop Eesti: “With the reusable food packaging offered by Ringo, Coop can contribute to reducing the number of single-use plastic in the food trade. If customers accept the new solution well, we will certainly consider extending the service to other Coop stores.”
“Kvartal Centre promotes the possibilities of recycling and the circular economy, and Ringo offers customers a convenient solution in this area,” said Veronika Tuisk, business manager of Kvartal. Today you can buy food in reusable packaging at PokeBowl, Blender, R-kiosk, Tokyo Sushibaar, V Café, and Joyce.
V Spa will soon join the Ringo service in Tartu, where all disposable drinking cups will be excluded from the assortment during a pilot project. “More important news regarding the reuse of packaging is expected this year,” Janek Balõnski promised.
Coop Eesti is the oldest and largest retail chain group in Estonia, 100% owned by Estonian consumers. Under this brand, 19 independent regional consumer cooperatives operate with a total of 330 stores, about 6,000 employees and 70,000 customer-owners. As the leader of cooperative trade in Estonia, Coop differs from private retailers in that profit here is not an end in itself, but rather a means of maintaining and developing life in different regions of Estonia.
60 restaurants have already joined the Ringo Eco reusable packaging service. Currently, the company’s product portfolio includes 30 different reusable packages. At the moment, there are already 120 return points in Tallinn and Tartu, and their number is increasing every week. Technical preparations are underway for the launch of the largest food packaging cleaning centre in Northern Europe and the start of cooperation with food manufacturers. In 2022, the company hopes to prevent 1 million single-use units of packaging from entering the market.