Company news
July 5, 2024

Boemerang: popularizing reusable packaging in Mechelen, BE

The current use of disposable packaging is unsustainable. It creates a huge waste pile and leads to the waste of raw materials.

Boemerang: popularizing reusable packaging in Mechelen, BE

In Belgium alone, 166 million pizza boxes are discarded every year, equivalent to clearing 70 football fields of forest. Through the Green Deal Anders Verpakt, an initiative by OVAM, and with the support of the City of Mechelen, several companies have joined forces to offer a solution called Boemerang. This initiative aims to reduce waste by introducing reusable packaging for take-away meals.

What started as an idea for a reusable pizza box quickly evolved into an ambitious project to facilitate reusable packaging for take-away in Mechelen. Recycling is often difficult due to contamination, and there is a misconception that cardboard is environmentally friendly, while its production has a significant environmental impact.

This project addresses both waste and perception issues. By focusing on eliminating logistical and administrative bottlenecks, the initiators aim to make the use of reusable packaging feasible and user-friendly for all types of consumers and pizzerias.

“At Kingslize Premium Pizza, we are always seeking ways to reduce our ecological footprint. With Boemerang, we can contribute to a cleaner environment and a more sustainable business model for the hospitality industry. By bringing together strategic partners, we have created an efficient logistics chain, making reusable packaging user-friendly for both consumers and the hospitality sector,” says manager Omar Aberkane.

Numerous Benefits

The local cooperation within the Boemerang project offers numerous benefits. It creates a scalable solution for reusable packaging in take-away, allowing Mechelen residents to return their packaging to all participating restaurants.

“This project also creates local employment in the circular economy and offers benefits for our local hospitality industry. Reusable packaging reduces the costs of disposable packaging and makes reuse simple and efficient. This collaboration stimulates innovation without disrupting the market and ensures a sustainable future by integrating reuse systems into the local hospitality sector,” says Greet Geypen, alderman for Economy.

Less waste

Hospitality providers supply their customers with reusable packaging in exchange for a small deposit. Upon purchase, the packaging is scanned by the hospitality employee, so the system knows it is in use. The consumer returns the packaging to one of the participating hospitality businesses and receives the deposit back.

“The beauty of this project is its immediate impact on the waste pile and the persistent problem of litter and illegal dumping. As a city and society, we can only be grateful for the Boemerang initiative. Litter remains a significant cost to taxpayers and the environment. By promoting reusable packaging and a deposit system, we show here in Mechelen how valuable such a system can be!” says Patrick Princen, alderman for the environment.

Sustainable mobility

The packaging is collected by Kingslize Pizza's bicycle couriers and brought to a logistics hub on the city's outskirts. MIVAS then picks them up, cleans them in their state-of-the-art washing line, and returns them to the logistics hub. The bicycle couriers then deliver the cleaned packaging back to the hospitality businesses, completing the cycle. Additionally, Twintag provides user-friendly digital tracking, offering both the consumer and the hospitality provider an easy overview of their packaging's status, return requirements, and deposit balances, all without the need to install an app.

“The use of bicycle couriers for the transport of reusable packaging in Mechelen illustrates how sustainable mobility and efficient logistics can go hand in hand,” says Alexander Vandersmissen, alderman for Mobility. “Several sustainable delivery projects are already underway. For example, the entire delivery of B-post is now sustainable, and 37 companies have signed our covenant for sustainable logistics. This impressive local project supports our ambition to improve the circulation of waste streams in our city without adding extra pressure to our road network.”

Pilot project

To test this chain on a small scale, Boemerang will start a pilot project on Monday, August 19. For three months, several Mechelen hospitality businesses will offer take-away in reusable packaging, distributed, collected, and cleaned by Boemerang. Kingslize Pizza will also use a newly developed reusable pizza box in collaboration with Avamoplast. The goal is to further optimize and expand the system into a platform that all Mechelen hospitality businesses can join based on the experiences and findings.

About the Partners

MIVAS, located in Lier, is known for its commitment to social employment, sustainability, and innovation. Their state-of-the-art washing line guarantees impeccable cleaning of the packaging through an ecologically responsible process.

Kingslize Premium Pizza, a well-established name in Mechelen, ensures the seamless logistics chain within the Boemerang project. Their expertise and commitment make them the ideal partner for this initiative.

Avamoplast, based in Lokeren, is a pioneer in the production of reusable packaging. Their high-quality products contribute to a greener future where circularity and quality go hand in hand.

Twintag, headquartered in Herentals, develops technology that makes it easy to link digital experiences to physical products and packaging. Their technology ensures smooth digital support throughout this initiative.

More about the initiative can be found in:

Nieuwsblad

GVA

MVO Vlaanderen

Made-in

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