Amsterdam-based packaging start-ups SwapBox and WePack, two distributors of reusable takeaway food and beverage packaging to restaurants, have merged into a new entity called SwapBox.
The aim of the merger is to achieve market expansion, creating an increased market presence to boost the impact on solving the global packaging waste problem.
“The merger of the two companies allows more focus on fulfilling the mission which is to be more than a packaging solution,” is how Dejun Li, co-founder of SwapBox, and previously, the founder of WePack, put it. The newly merged team will be mentored by the Impact Hub of Amsterdam in their startup program.
The volume of food packaging waste has soared during the past year, mainly due to Covid 19, which has fuelled a boom in delivery food services. SwapBox has developed a solution that, says the company, that reduces packaging waste, is free and convenient to use for consumers, and is cost-effective for foodservice businesses. The company has developed an app that enables restaurants to offer reusable packaging to their guests without requiring a deposit to borrow the packaging.
Of all plastic produced, 40% is used in single-use plastic packaging applications. The compostable packaging used by eco-conscious restaurants must be industrially composted, which requires significant waste management. To change users’ behaviour, what is needed is a new system offering convenience for consumers and cost-effectiveness for industry participants.
SwapBox’ containers are made from a starch-based bioplastic reinforced with 45% bamboo fibres.
The company is implementing a closed-loop solution in which zero-waste is generated. Its packaging can be reused at least 300x before being recycled. Once a product has run its lifecycle, SwapBox asks all partners to return all products which are no longer useful. These are then forwarded to the company's production partner, who recycles them into new products.
The company started with 15 partners, but has since grown its Amsterdam network into 40 members. SwapBox is now preparing to launch in The Hague, Rotterdam, Maastricht and Brussels by 1 March. The company aims to create a network where users can return packaging at every street corner.
“With the merging of the two companies, we have a bigger platform to make more impact faster,” said Maurits Last, the co-founder of SwapBox.