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Sustainable Consumption Award Winner Aims to Eliminate Single-Use Packaging

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Returnity was named the winner in the Sustainable Consumption category of the Fashion Innovation Award 2020 - Sustainability Edition. The award is a part of the Fashion Innovation Week, organized by NetComm Suisse, the Swiss e-commerce association.

Returnity Innovations was founded in 2014 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Originally incubated in a reusable shopping bag business, the company has spent the past three years developing product innovations and systems intelligence to replace single-use shipping and delivery packaging with reusable bags and boxes.

Waste360 sat down with Mike Newman, CEO of Returnity to discuss the company and its mission to replace single-use shipping materials.

Waste360: How is Returnity eliminating single-use packaging?

Mike Newman: There were over 100 billion parcel deliveries in 2020 – almost all in single-use packaging, and that number is set to double by 2026. The solution to that economic and environmental waste is reusable packaging and the larger shift from linear business models to sustainable circular models, a move we empower through the development of easy to implement systems.

What we do at Returnity is build out these reusable solutions and empower the broader systems necessary for companies to shift to the circular economy. We help companies to identify opportunities in their supply chains – either internal or consumer facing – where our packaging can enable them to close the loop. Reusable packaging requires a balance of low-cost return processes, high levels of user participation, and the right package for the job, and Returnity excels at bringing that together in one simple program.

Waste360: What is the Fashion Innovation Award 2020 - Sustainability Edition?

Mike Newman: The Fashion Innovation Award 2020 Sustainability Edition promotes mature start-ups with ground-breaking solutions that could help big fashion brands tackle sustainability. Bally, a Swiss luxury brand, worked in cooperation with Loomish SA, a Swiss investment advisory firm specialized in lifestyle tech and start-up scouting, as part of Fashion Innovation Week, organized by NetComm Suisse, the Swiss e-commerce association.

Waste360: What is the Sustainable Consumption category?

Mike Newman: The Sustainable Consumption category in particular focuses on solutions contributing to the circular economy, including new customization techniques, sharing economy, product life extension models, waste management, and consumer education.

Waste360: What criteria did Returnity have to meet to be nominated and win?

Mike Newman: Out of over 100 international applicants, the list was narrowed down to 16 finalists, who pitched their solutions in front of a prominent international jury panel composed of high-level industry executives, tech leaders and investors. The panel then chose 4 winners, one in each category.

Waste360: What do you receive for winning?

Mike Newman: As a winner, we receive exclusive mentoring with a top industry player, two hours of consultancy on Intellectual property law, one year of free desk and office services in Technopolo Ticino, Switzerland, inclusion in the report “FashionTech for Sustainability” by Loomish and NetComm Suisse, promotion as the Award winner in European and Swiss media, as well as the Fashion Innovation Award trophy.

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