In the dynamic world of e-commerce, the search for sustainable reusable solutions has become increasingly important. A notable example of such a possible solution is the startup “Hey Circle”, which offers reusable e-commerce bags. The recent collaboration between Hey Circle and Österreichische Post AG confirms the assumption that simple and easily adaptable solutions are needed to close the loop in online shipping. It also shows that it is this simplicity that is a potential key to widespread uptake in shipping and return flows by large logistics and infrastructure companies, and thus can become a real impact on consumer behavior.
Hey Circle’s concept has proven to be highly adaptable, which makes it attractive to contractual partners such as Österreichische Post AG. Austrian offers business customers the option of using Hey Circle’s reusable packaging as part of its “Post Loop Service Plus”. This partnership not only simplifies the delivery and return process, but also includes the cleaning of the bags. The bags themselves are branded under the Austrian Post label so that they are just as recognizable as Hey Circle’s turquoise packaging.
Foreseeable success: the rise of simple solutions in e-commerce
Already a few months ago, we mentioned in a blog article the advantage of the startup’s “lean” approach. The latest collaboration illustrates the versatility of the concept and shows its potential applicability across different industries and user groups.
What really sets the approach apart is its focus on convenience for customers, a critical factor in the success of any take-back system.
For sustainable packaging solutions like Hey Circle to catch on, consumers must be invited to integrate them seamlessly into their daily lives. This adaptability is key to widespread adoption.
The bags provided by Hey Circle are designed for user-friendly returns.
- They can be easily folded and returned by the end consumer via the mailbox.
- Empty returns already have the return address affixed by a label on a fold-out flap.
- Conventional returns are returned to the shipping customer with a return label.
- Clear instructions for return shipping can be found directly on the bag and at post.at/postloop.
Hey Circle’s giant leap: from startup to pioneer
Although Hey Circle is a newcomer to the market, the company has quickly gained momentum since its launch in 2022 and already boasts 25 customers in German-speaking countries. Successful trials with well-known brands such as eyewear designer VIU and clothing manufacturer Trigema underscore the maturity of the approach.
These successful beginnings give hope for further innovative solutions in the future. Such solutions are also needed. The European Union Commission’s current draft EU packaging regulation also specifically targets the e-commerce industry. The draft pushes ambitious goals:
- Ten percent of all transport packaging in online retailing is to be reusable by 2030, and at least fifty percent by 2040.
Success is measured by longevity and CO2 effectiveness.
Interest in testing cost-effective solution seems to be growing. The reusable packaging can be used at least 50 times before being recycled into PP and PET streams thanks to its durable and easy-care design.
Advantageous attributes of Hey-Circle packaging are:
- A water and dirt repellent surface.
- lightweight yet durable honeycomb inner panels
- Zippers that eliminate the need for adhesive tape
- and the ability to recondition easily damaged bags
In addition, the effective use of packaging solutions, with a focus on the ideal size and weight relationship between the packaged product and the packaging, will be critical to reducing carbon emissions associated with each shipment.
Cooperation with perspective
Hey Circle’s collaboration with Austrian Post is a promising example of sustainable e-commerce packaging in action. While many other solutions in the industry tend to be overly complex, Hey Circle’s straightforward approach and cost-effectiveness have attracted the attention of major infrastructure providers. As the e-commerce sector comes under increasing scrutiny for its environmental impact, Hey Circle’s reusable packaging offers a possible, practical and sustainable way forward that aligns with the ambitious goals of the draft EU Packaging Regulation.