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REWE partners with Miwa over the use of waste-reducing packaging within its shops

by | Nov 21, 2023

REWE is one of Germany’s largest retail chains and they have recently decided to form a partnership with Czech’s start-up company, Miwa, in order to trial Miwa’s packaging waste reduction solutions.

Miwa and REWE’s packaging preferences combine perfectly as Miwa’s modules provide consumers with the ability to purchase dry foods such as pasta, rice and cereal which are packaged in reusable and returnable containers. This mean that the chances of food waste and packaging waste are reduced and the method meets REWE’s criteria too, as the closed capsules guarantee cleanliness and maximum shelf-life in contrast to other forms of zero-waste solutions. Whilst other systems work through retailers operating a pouring which allows consumers to refill containers, this method from Miwa, adopted by REWE will ensure that no food is handled within the shop and no unnecessary is produced is the capsules are simply inserted into the device, ready to be dispensed.

REWE has agreed to trial this technology throughout 11 of its various stores within German cities, these include Cologne and Bonn. The modules for the trial were installed in mid-November of this year, forming part of Miwa’s wider collaboration which encompasses the largest Dutch Chain, Albert Heijn, the Portuguese chain, Continente, plus the Great Britain chain, Aldi.

Currently, the collaboration between REWE and Miwa is in stage two, which involves the latest second-generation of the Miwa modules being tested within the stores. The basic make-up of Miwa’s modules is the use of reusable standardised capsules which are available and circulate between manufacturers, shops and service centres. The modules also use as much smart data as possible, to allow customers to monitor how much of the goods they have dispensed, along with what that will cost them. The newest version of this module has been upgraded in order to ensure it is utlising the electronics and software which will allow it to have optimal operating capacity. Furthermore, this second generation will also allow retailers to make necessary expansions to these dispensing systems, as they will now be able to hold, store and dispense larger products, which would not have fitted into the smaller systems. In order to aid these systems and prevent as much waste as possible, an extra advantage is that the modules will include the ability to vibrate in order to assist in the case that food is stuck within the system. Altogether these devices are an excellent way to reduce plastic waste and protect the environment, as well as helping and enabling consumers and retailers to live and operate their businesses more sustainably. So far, it has been revealed that one capsule is able to save approximately 2,000 pieces of disposable packaging throughout its lifecycle.

The system works in a clever and very simple way, through a process which involves the customer taking a reusable and returnable container, or bringing their own, and filling it with the desired product, with the final step being that a label is printed and the customer can then pay. If the customer chooses to use their own container, they can weigh it first so that they are only paying for the food they dispense, the cost is totalled through the weight of the product they dispense and finally, the price is calculated at the same time as the food is dispensed, so the customer can have the exact amount they want. The containers can be easily returned through a REWE shop or with their other partners.

Executive director of Miwa, Mirek Lizec, “For us, this is the largest pilot project in the retail segment so far. Other chains initially test our technology in only one to three shops, here it will be eleven shops. Germany is an interesting market for us, which is very receptive to ecological solutions, and reusable packaging is supported by a large part of the public there, as well as by the new legislation. The management of the chain was very interested in the hygienic and digital standards of our solution, in the safety and efficiency of sales. They also appreciated that our modules are user-friendly and easy for customers to understand. We are happy that we manage to establish cooperation with such important players even though the European retail market now has to recover from a series of problems such as inflation, the war in Ukraine, the repercussions of covid and the like.”

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