Carrefour Belgium, Cornet and DW Reusables launch a returnable shelf-ready mini crate for beer with support of VLAIO and Living Lab

16 április 2024

BILZEN, April 16, 2024 – As set out in the new European Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulations (PPWR), reusable packaging is a key driver for the beverage industry to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Reusable beer crates are one of the oldest examples of a truly closed-loop system. Together with reusable bottles, the packaging circulates for decades between breweries, retailers and end users.

A small deposit maximizes the return rate to almost 100%, reducing tons of single-use packaging waste. After their useful long life, the crates are collected to be reground, and turned into new crates. This first- and last-mile solution cannot be found in many other supply chains.

Returnable six-pack for frequent use

The returnable and fully brandable six-pack is the next logical step towards multi-use beverage crates. They are easy to carry and store, with the added advantage that the mini crate is easy to return via the well-known Tomra machines.

The six-bottle returnable packs are stored on retailer shelves and offer the same shopping conveniences as single-use packs, including optimized shelf space, easy replenishment and reduced product handling. In addition, the durable packaging is stackable and reduces the risk of pre-opened, unsellable units or damaged goods. At socio-economic company MIVAS, they are cleaned after each use for guaranteed hygiene.

From Producer to Brewer to Retailer

The Cornet brand from Brouwerij De Hoorn, part of Royal Swinkels, debuts with the shelf-ready reusable six-packs.

Circularity is the cornerstone of our sustainability strategy. This means that we do not waste energy and materials and ensure that they retain their value. With this initiative we are putting words into action.”

said Pamela De Groote, Senior Brand Marketer at Royal Swinkels.

For Carrefour, this is part of its mission to take the lead in the food transition. The retailer was immediately convinced to offer this packaging in its hypermarkets:

Carrefour wants to promote more sustainable packaging together with suppliers and retailers and increase consumer awareness of this,”

explains Lotte Krekels, Packaging Manager.

Urbanization is influencing the trend towards smaller reusable packaging,”

continued Marine Bresson, Sustainability Manager.

Additionally, DW Reusables, the manufacturer of the packaging, will produce the packaging from 100% waste. By using post-consumer plastic material to produce the packaging, the materials are brought back in a circular economy.

The project will be presented at the World Circular Economy Forum on April 17 in Brussels. That is the world’s leading event for thinkers about the circular economy, where the most impactful circular solutions are showcased.

The first returnable packaging with a deposit will be available in Carrefour stores from this autumn. The various partners will make an evaluation in the first half of next year.

Broad cooperation

The Living Lab is carried out by the broad partnership of DW Reusables, Carrefour Belgium, Royal Swinkels, Fevia, the federation of the Belgian food industry, the REuse Lab of the University of Antwerp and the socio-economic enterprise MIVAS.

This initiative was made possible with the support of VLAIO, in the form of a Living Lab. VLAIO is the point of contact of the Flemish government for all entrepreneurs in Flanders. We encourage and support innovation and entrepreneurship and contribute to a favorable business climate. We do this in collaboration with numerous partners. VLAIO is fully committed to circular entrepreneurship. That is why this project received VLAIO support and resources. VLAIO undertakes these actions in the context of the Flanders Circular partnership.

The partnership was realized thanks to the Flemish Green Deal Anders Verpakt.


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