Rewe is testing a new reusable system for “To Go” packaging. The concept will initially be tested at five locations in Cologne. The cooperation partner is the start-up company Vytal. The special feature of the system: It works via an app and without a deposit.
Convenience foods are causing the mountain of waste to grow steadily: bowls, boxes, cups and plates are, after all, often only used once. “This makes it all the more important for us to rely on real system conversions in order to consistently and systematically avoid packaging waste despite changing consumer trends,” says Pia Schnück, who is responsible for the sustainability project in the merchandise area of Rewe. “We are very pleased that with Vytal we are now testing a smart reusable alternative that can enable us to solve this challenge to a certain extent”.
The central element of the Vytal reusable system is a stable plastic bowl with lid. The bowl has a volume of 1,250 milliliters, is dishwasher safe and suitable for the microwave. “We want to make reusable as easy as disposable products,” emphasizes Sven Witthöft, co-founder of the start-up. “Because only with reusable solutions mountains of waste can be reduced. Our vision is that in five years all customers who want to take food with them or have it delivered can do so without producing packaging waste”.
Processing via app
Lending is handled by default via an app from Vytal. If the consumer is already a Vytal customer, the “key” to receiving a reusable tray is his individual QR code from the Vytal app or on his offline card. The customer scans his individual QR code at the dispensing station. He can then remove the tray from the dispenser and fill it at the salad bar. At the checkout, the weight of the tray is automatically deducted when the contents are weighed.
Vytal gives its customers 14 days to return the tray free of charge. When returned within 24 hours, the tray does not have to be rinsed, but only tightly closed, completely emptied and roughly cleaned. In the case of a longer loan, the customer is asked to rinse the bowl briefly with cold water once.
Separate return station at Rewe
A separate return station is available for returns at Rewe Markt. The customer scans the QR code on the tray lid, opens the sliding door of the return station, inserts the tray and closes the sliding door again. The device checks whether the tray has been returned empty and with the lid. If this is the case, the tray is booked out of the customer account and the customer receives a return confirmation on his cell phone.
In principle, the customer can also return the borrowed reusable bowl to any other partner working with Vytal. The Vytal app shows all participating providers. Anyone who wants to test the service first without having to install the Vytal app can enter their mobile phone number on the display of the issuing station. The customer then receives an SMS with a code that he enters on the display and is then handed a tray via the dispenser’s tray. A total of three trays can be borrowed via the cell phone number.