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Kamupak is a circular takeaway packaging solution based on a digital deposit system: “Single-use packaging is a thing of the past”

The group of three behind Kamupak – Iida Miettinen, Eero Heikkinen and Karri Lehtonen – believe in the power of deposit systems. Their start-up company has created a circular solution for takeaway packaging in the Greater Helsinki region. Single-use products are facing more and more restrictions, which means that circular solutions are needed in other product categories too.

Image: Petteri Tuukkanen, Berry Creative

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“Iida first got the idea when she noticed plastic waste and single-use packaging more and more often when spending time out in nature. Takeaway food is gaining popularity, which means that more waste is created. Iida wanted to find a solution to the emerging waste problem. Together with Karri and Eero she created Kamupak: a circular solution that uses a digital deposit system to replace single-use packaging with reusable packaging.

Kamupak is a solution that aims to keep reusable packaging and other products in circulation. At the moment it is used by 50 restaurants, cafes and supermarkets selling takeaway food around Finland. The network is soon to expand to other Nordic countries.

When ordering food, the customer can choose a reusable KamuDish. Depending on the product, there is a deposit of between one and three euros. After the meal is finished, the packaging can be returned to any café, restaurant or supermarket providing KamuDishes. Once returned, the customer can either choose to have new, clean packaging or get a refund.

We want packaging and products to be used by many. We charge restaurants and shops according to the amount of packaging items used. Sustainable solutions should not be too expensive, which is why our prices are the same or cheaper than those of single-use products. When a KamuDish reaches the end of its life cycle, the material is recycled.

A deposit system may sound simple, but operating it is not. Our deposit system is used by a several customers and each has its own way of operating. We had no idea we would be working with so many different point-of-sale systems. A deposit system has to be as simple and easy as possible to attract customers, not just early adopters.

Next, we want to see our business grow. We want to expand the deposit system from takeaway food packaging to other categories, such as make-up packaging, transport boxes, pallets, clothes and other consumer goods.

Legislation is developing in the same direction as our solution. Finland’s strategic programme to promote a circular economy places an emphasis on digital solutions. The EU’s Directive is limiting and banning the use of single-use plastic. In Germany, there is a trend is towards reuse. We have a viable solution that has been tested in practice. It can help companies move towards circularity, which is now required of them by regulation.”

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