From IoT asset tracking to circular packaging rewards programs, we break down the categories of tech vendors helping track, collect, and return reusable packaging.
With e-commerce logistics predicted to emit 25M metric tons of CO2 by 2030, reducing the carbon footprint of the e-commerce industry is a necessary, long-term investment. One way that brands, packaging suppliers, and logistics companies are addressing unsustainable practices is by piloting reusable packaging.
Historically, uptake of reusable packaging has been slow due to logistical complexities, affordability, and worries about customer adoption. However, consumers are also ready for a switch: A 2023 pilot study conducted by the WWF found that one-third of consumers opt for reusable packaging when given the option.
It’s important to note that for reusable packaging to actually be sustainable, companies need to ensure its return and reuse. For instance, plastic reusable packaging typically needs to be used 50+ times before its environmental impact outperforms paper packaging.
To address these issues, tech companies are helping pool reusable packaging materials between users, track assets using tech like IoT sensors and blockchain, and more. They’re also partnering with returns management platforms like Returnbear and UPS-owned Happy Returns to help scale reverse logistics.
In the market map below, we identify 70 tech vendors across 8 categories addressing critical aspects of the reusable e-commerce packaging value chain.
Note: Our map includes private, active startups. This market map is not exhaustive of the space.
Please click to enlarge.