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Rolling out reuse across multiple markets

Policymakers globally are waking up to the potential of reusable packaging solutions to reduce raw material consumption and carbon. As a result, regulations mandating reuse are on the rise in almost every country.

This is the fourth article in the reuse + refill series, and looks at how brands operating across multiple countries can plan against a backdrop of regional variations, to decrease their commercial and reputational risk.

The full report, written by Root’s packaging experts, reveals the other four critical reuse issues brands need to have on their radar. Available to download today – go to: Getting to the Root of Reuse + Refill.

National and regional policymakers use different reuse mechanisms that build on cultural norms and the needs of local citizens. There are ongoing calls for better guidance, but for now, we have a complex patchwork of approaches, which can be challenging to navigate even within a single region.
While regulations commonly set mandated targets for high-impact sectors, it’s often left to brands and producers to determine implementation and standards. This flexibility can offer benefits, but the resulting ambiguity can be challenging for the businesses that lack internal expertise and are simply seeking clear guidance.
Drawing from our experience of collaborating with businesses operating across multiple regions, we share our insights and recommendations to help businesses scale.

It’s crucial to acknowledge the significance of regional nuances to meet regulation and respect cultural and local citizen needs


Reuse is typically not assigned to any specific role or team within an organisation. Like many other new regulatory-driven workstreams, individuals and teams are finding themselves compelled to take on more responsibility in an area where they possess little or no knowledge.

Most businesses are unprepared or lack adequate resource to address the growing demand to comply with new and upcoming packaging regulations. Only a few individuals possess the breadth and depth of expertise required to grasp the technical, regulatory, and sustainability complexities of new packaging requirements.

We assist businesses with organisational design by providing support to map out roles, responsibilities, and process changes necessary to integrate detailed and strategic aspects of reuse. Below we share learnings from our experience.

Data and reporting

Ensuring you have a solution ready to implement and an engaged, accountable team when legislation is announced, means you will be better prepared to collect and report data needed to launch market-ready solutions.

Providing coaching or training to both internal and external teams regarding key policies and the importance of good data is essential. Engagement helps to reduce compliance risk, cut costs, and generate valuable insights for future reuse revisions.

You’ll need local markets, regions, business units, and supply chain partners to collect and report new data points required for internal progress tracking and mandatory reporting. Data partners can assist in providing evidence or decision-making, traceability, and monitoring of reusable packaging.

Market research

While many clients seek global or regional roadmaps, it’s crucial to acknowledge the significance of regional nuances to meet regulation and respect cultural and local citizen needs.

Some businesses may already have one or more years of experience with reusable packaging, with multiple markets sharing insights and resources across operations, communications, and marketing. It’s important to ensure that consumer research is localised, as different cultures and lifestyles necessitate different strategies to drive scale and enhance customer loyalty through ongoing engagement, rather than mere novelty.

Get to know the basics

– Any business adopting reuse should have a clear understanding of the key operational factors that drive successful implementation. This is essential to ensure that reuse aligns with, rather than hinders, efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
– The break-even point for an environmentally advantageous solution is likely to vary in each market due to differences in transport distances, infrastructure, and the availability of washing solutions.
– Loss rates are influenced by culture, pack value, and the design of your system. Some customers may litter reusable packaging without recognising its value, while others collect it because it holds commercial value for them.
– It’s critical to keep the methodology for your life cycle analysis simple while considering variables across markets, customer behaviours, and the supply chain to implement solutions successfully.