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April 20, 2023

The Green Revolution: An Interview with LimeLoop's Director of Growth Marketing Rebecca Smith

"Recycling can and should be the last resort"

Manufacturing and industries all over the world are paying increasing attention to sustainable packaging. Due to increasing environmental awareness and human activities' impact on the planet, sustainable packaging is becoming more and more popular. Sustainable packaging solutions and eco-friendly materials are crucial to reducing businesses' carbon footprints.

Packaging that is environmentally friendly is not only beneficial to the environment, but also to manufacturers and industries as well. One company to take heed of is LimeLoop, which is revolutionizing the e-commerce industry by offering reusable packaging and shipping services.

Technews180 sits down with Rebecca Smith, Director of Growth Marketing at LimeLoop, to see how they are helping to find solutions to the environmental crisis.

CEO Rebecca Smith
Director of Growth Marketing Rebecca Smith

1. LimeLoop provides a solution to an issue that has shadowed the retail industry for years. In the past, sustainable and recyclable packaging stood in contrast to the fashion industry and its practices. In order to reach the retail industry, what obstacles did LimeLoop encounter?

One of the main obstacles that sustainable packaging companies face when trying to reach the retail industry is the resistance to change. Retailers are often hesitant to adopt new packaging solutions, as they are worried about the potential impact on their supply chains, costs, and customer perception. Additionally, retailers may be influenced by consumer preferences, which are often driven by convenience and aesthetics.

Another challenge that sustainable packaging companies face is the lack of standardization in the industry. There are many different types of sustainable packaging materials and solutions available, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. This can make it difficult for retailers to compare different options and make informed decisions about which solutions to adopt.

Lastly, One of the key aspects of sustainable packaging is its ability to be reused or recycled. However, for reusable packaging solutions like LimeLoop, this requires a system of reverse logistics to be put in place. This can be a significant challenge, as it requires coordination between multiple stakeholders in the supply chain, including retailers, consumers, and logistics providers.

To address these challenges, LimeLoop and other sustainable packaging companies will and are investing in developing efficient and cost-effective reverse logistics systems, and work closely with retailers and logistics providers to ensure that the systems are properly implemented and maintained.

Overall, all sustainable packaging companies need to navigate these obstacles and work closely with retailers and other stakeholders in the supply chain to drive adoption of more sustainable and eco-friendly packaging solutions.

2. LimeLoop's reusable packaging can be reused up to 200 times. Was it a lengthy process to design and test the materials?

LimeLoop's testing process involves a range of approaches, from traditional supply chain simulations to §customer testing, to ensure that the reusable packaging meets the necessary durability and performance requirements. By investing in this process, LimeLoop can ensure that its packaging is able to deliver on its promise of reducing waste and environmental impact, while also meeting the needs of customers and stakeholders in the supply chain.

Using customer feedback regularly, LimeLoop’s current packaging has been iterated a number of times to make our packaging even more efficient and effective with each adjustment. Our goal is to deliver a world without waste, but our packages have to be designed with the end user in mind as well which is a process and takes time. Nothing in life is static and so we know we will continue to design and test, and design and test forever.

3. We've seen trends in the market that packaging companies aim to provide affordable options, but the costs associated with production make it difficult to offer low prices; how do you stay competitive in a cost-driven market?

In a cost-driven market, it can be challenging for sustainable packaging companies to offer affordable options while still maintaining the necessary standards for quality and environmental impact. To stay competitive, we need to invest in technology and process efficiencies to drive down costs and increase efficiency.

One approach that LimeLoop is taking is to focus on reducing loss inventory and increasing real-time store replenishment. By using technology and data analytics to optimize the supply chain and ensure that packaging is being used and returned efficiently, we can reduce waste and improve the overall cost-effectiveness of its solution. Additionally, by partnering with retailers and logistics providers to streamline the return and replenishment process, LimeLoop can reduce costs and improve the convenience and accessibility of its solution.

Another key strategy for staying competitive in a cost-driven market is to continually innovate and optimize the packaging design and production process. By investing in research and development and leveraging new materials and manufacturing techniques, LimeLoop can reduce the costs associated with production and offer more affordable options to customers. Additionally, by constantly striving to improve the performance and sustainability of its packaging, we can differentiate itself from competitors and provide additional value to customers.

We can show our value in environmental savings and cost savings long-term because of our no waste model. Cardboard boxes are expensive and they are wasteful. Reusable packaging can be used repeatedly and is not wasteful. It’s a win-win both for your bottom-line and for the environment.

4. Historically, eco-friendly packaging has been seen as a luxury that only larger companies can afford. Have you experienced more inquiries from smaller companies wishing to try your eco-friendly packaging? Has the percentage of your customer base, which are startups and small businesses, grown? Why do you think this is?

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the environmental impact of packaging waste, and more and more companies are seeking out sustainable packaging solutions as a way to reduce their environmental footprint and improve their corporate social responsibility (CSR) profile. This trend has been particularly strong among smaller companies and startups, which often have a more nimble and innovative approach to business, and are more willing to experiment with new solutions and ideas.

LimeLoop's smart sustainable packaging solutions are designed to be affordable and accessible, which may be particularly attractive to smaller companies and startups that are working with tight budgets. Additionally, by offering a reusable packaging solution, LimeLoop can help smaller companies and startups reduce their environmental impact without having to make large up-front investments in sustainable packaging infrastructure.

LimeLoop's reusable packaging solutions are supported by advanced technology that can help businesses scale their reuse efforts efficiently. One example is our Shopify integration, which allows businesses to easily track and manage their LimeLoop packaging orders and returns directly within the Shopify platform.

By integrating LimeLoop's packaging solution with their e-commerce store, businesses can seamlessly incorporate reusable packaging into their order fulfillment process and ensure that their customers are aware of the sustainable packaging option. This integration can help businesses to reduce packaging waste and improve their sustainability profile, without requiring significant changes to their existing logistics infrastructure.

Overall, there is a growing interest among smaller companies and startups in sustainable packaging as retailers seek to differentiate themselves and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. By offering affordable and accessible solutions, LimeLoop can help these companies achieve their sustainability goals while also building their brand and market position.

5. What prompted LimeLoop's innovative concept, and what will be the company's next goals?

One of our founders, Ashley Etling, was looking to ship goods without all the waste from conventional packaging (think cardboard, poly, packing peanuts, tape, you know what we're talking about). So, she started prototyping a fabric envelope, which she sent to Chantal Emmanuel, her co-founder, and CTO. From this prototype started the LimeLoop journey which extends beyond packaging into transforming how we send and receive goods.

One key focus for the company is the scaling of smart packaging solutions, which can further improve the efficiency and sustainability of its reusable packaging offerings. Most companies today focus solely on the packaging itself, which is where LimeLoop sees a great area for improvement and impact.

Smart packaging technology involves the use of sensors, data analytics, and other advanced features to monitor and optimize the performance of packaging throughout the supply chain. For example, smart packaging can help businesses to track inventory levels, monitor package condition and location, and even provide real-time feedback on environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

By incorporating smart technology into its reusable packaging solutions, LimeLoop can help businesses to further improve their sustainability and efficiency.

6. Based on LimeLoop's experience and observations over the years, what does the future hold for sustainable packaging and logistics companies?

LimeLoop's experience and observations suggest that the future of sustainable packaging and logistics companies is very promising. As retailers and consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of traditional single-use packaging, there is growing demand for more sustainable packaging solutions.

We’ve been taught for years that recycling is the way of the future to stay sustainable and environmentally friendly. We know that just is not true. We are dedicated to working to move to a more sustainable model starting with packaging. Together, we can prioritize the first two R’s of Reduce and Reuse. Recycling can and should be the last resort. With reusable packaging, we get the economy one step closer to this initiative. And with our technology, we can keep more waste out of landfills and more focus on re-educating the public to reduce and reuse.

Technology advancement is a critical enabler of the circular economy of reuse, providing the tools and capabilities needed to create more sustainable and efficient supply chains. Reuse as a service is where the future is headed. As the industry continues to evolve and innovate, technology will play an increasingly important role in driving progress towards a more sustainable future.

Looking to bring reuse to your retail?

Learn more about LimeLoop's reusable packaging options by speaking with one of their Reusable Packaging Specialists. Here, you will get a full picture of what it means to combine smart technology and reusable packaging so you can save on packaging costs, track your products in real-time and be more environmentally friendly.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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