Closing the Loop

Changing Internal Flows

As one of six pilot cities in the EU Horizon 2020 project REFLOW, Vejle Municipality has joined forces with us and the supermarket discount chain REMA 1000. Together, we explore how to increase the reuse and recycling of plastic packaging to create circular loops.

The Results: Changing Internal Flows and Closing Loops

The goal for REMA 1000 is to figure out how the store can manage its waste flow in effective and efficient ways while maintaining the main purpose of a supermarket: providing groceries for its customers.At this point, REMA 1000 has achieved the following:

  • A test site has been set up at a local REMA 1000 store in Vejle
  • Prototype testing is set in motion
  • New logistics and waste collection containers are to be implemented on-site

Through the collaboration, we have identified candy boxes as the main focus for the prototype. The boxes are a big part of the plastic fraction in retail, they’re sturdy and made of high-quality plastic. Currently, they are however sent to incineration.According to Head of Private Label at REMA 1000, Gunhild Nørgaard, this resource can be used in a better way: “This can be done in a smarter way which is why we [at REMA 1000] along with Vejle Municipality and DDC have started a process towards a closed circular loop that engages the actors in our value chain.”

The team is now exploring alternative flows, such as closed-loop reuse, open-loop reuse, and recycling. A tool for facilitating rethinking of retail store flows and value chains is being prototyped at the DDC with feedback from REMA 1000. This prototype is going to enable other retailers to join the transition towards circularity. The project is still ongoing and so the work continues!


The Challenge: The Art of Scaling

REMA 1000 and its management team are actively engaged in becoming more circular. They want to be part of the solution to society’s circular challenges and have been concerned with waste flows and circularity since 2018 when they introduced their packaging and plastic strategy worldwide. For REMA 1000 it’s all about sharing and scaling change. They want to share and develop the business models which the REFLOW project gives rise to so other retail chains may benefit from them.


The Approach: Co-creation is Ringing in Circularity

Co-creation is at the heart of this circularity project both as a process and method. We’ve facilitated several co-creation workshops with REMA 1000 and Vejle Municipality, and also invited important key partners from REMA 1000’s supply chains to join the process.In one workshop, candy box manufacturer Cloetta participated. We worked with different future scenarios for reusing and recycling of candy boxes. This process helps in developing prototypes, and the workshop also provided a mapping of REMA 1000’s value chains.

Another co-creation-workshop included a waste collection company which led to insights into multiple waste sorting opportunities. The local REMA 1000 manager was there as well, and helped highlight important concerns about waste sorting logistics such as time and space required.The data compiled from these workshops acts as the foundation for concept development and current prototyping so that the REFLOW team alongside REMA 1000 develop solutions with and for actual end-users.

Cecilie Bang Schulze


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