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#EUGreenWeek: Why MIWA minimizes packaging waste by REUSE

We are losing nature at a faster pace than ever before. During the #EUGreenWeek, we think about solutions to end this loss. Nature provides essential services, such as clean water, crop pollination and air purification. It gives us a healthy and beautiful home to live in.

single-use plastic water bottle in the seaPhoto by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

The European Commission’s 2020 State of Nature report, however, shows that our continent’s natural health declines at an alarming rate. As Europe’s farming and forestry practices intensify and cities expand, little room is left for our natural environment. And those natural ecosystems that remain face another threat: environmental pollution. Plastic packaging is an enormous contributor to pollution, globally, and in Europe. Now is the time to appreciate and respect the ecosystem services we depend on, and put a halt to environmental degradation. 

The challenge to reduce plastic waste is urgent 

Plastic pollution represents up to 60-95% of the waste found in seas around the world, increasing at such a pace that by 2050, the oceans may have more plastics than fish (by weight). European waters are no exception. The Mediterranean Sea, for example, holds only 1% of the world’s waters, but 7% of global micro-plastics. About 70% of Mediterranean marine mammal species are listed as threatened by the IUCN, as well as over 40% of Mediterranean sharks, rays, and skates. Plastic pollution can endanger marine species due to entanglement, poisoning, suffocation, starvation, but also endangers human health, as it ends up in our food chain.

A big part of the problem can be traced back to the choices we make in our daily lives. For example, each summer, tourism in the Mediterranean generates a 40% increase in marine litter. These developments endanger the benefits Europeans can get from the seas, from tourism to food production.

a young dark haired woman holding single use plastic lids collected at a beach

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

Smart reusable packaging as a new normal

To help turn this trend around, MIWA’s mission is to make waste-free shopping the new standard. We offer a smart, reusable packaging solution, that can help businesses and consumers minimize packaging waste in their daily routines.

As a member of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, initiated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme, we are part of a global movement that strives towards a Circular Economy for plastics. In a Circular Economy, materials flow in 'closed loops,’ being reused and restored. As such, the concept of ‘waste’ is designed out of our economy. In a perfectly closed loop, there will be no more plastic waste to end up on our beaches or in our oceans.

miwa closed loop reuse system graphicMIWA system of closed packaging loops

MIWA’s system is based on a REUSE model. Our packaging and other system parts are reused, so long as they meet hygienic and safety standards. We use smart technology based on RFID/NFC to track all packaging and materials in real time, monitoring them and keeping them in closed loops. Once system parts reach the end of their lifespan, they get recycled and the material can be used again.

In other words, our ambition is to stop waste before it happens.

In 2018, a Life Cycle Analysis performed by the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague demonstrated that, in comparison to a food distribution system based on disposable packaging, MIWA can reduce the overall negative environmental impact up to 71%! Apart from ‘closing the loop,’ MIWA’s circular system uses smart technology to meet today’s logistic and hygienic standards, while simultaneously facilitating an easy and pleasant shopping experience for consumers.

woman in red dress shopping with reusable packaging at MIWA smart moduar stand

Photo by MIWA

This #EUGreenWeek is all about finding solutions together to end biodiversity loss. At MIWA, we aim to contribute to this goal by developing a circular system for food distribution. We believe in a waste-free future for shopping: a future in which our natural environment is healthy, safe and free from plastic packaging waste.

Author: Robbert van Tilborg, editor: Lucie Jandová

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