The future of reusable packaging: Kleen hub's mission

Published on 2024-04-25

Startup Story

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Revolutionizing Reusable Packaging

Hello everyone, I'm Robert Dichtl, co-founder and CEO at Kleen Hub, a dynamic startup hailing from Denmark with a mission to transform the world of reusable packaging. Our story is one of innovation, passion, and a shared vision to address the urgent environmental challenge posed by disposable packaging. Today, I'm thrilled to share with you the genesis of KleenHub and the drive behind our commitment to sustainability.

Our journey began in the summer of 2019 in Copenhagen, where I, alongside my Co-Founders Simone Favorito and Giuseppe Lanzafame, both from Italy, found ourselves confronting the stark reality of plastic waste. After a simple Thai takeaway led to an alarming amount of disposable packaging, we were spurred into action. Our dissatisfaction with this wasteful norm, coupled with our backgrounds in innovation and strategy, set the stage for Kleen Hub's birth.

The turning point came when we discovered the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge hosted by National Geographic. Inspired, we leveraged our understanding of deposit systems prevalent in Germany and Denmark to conceptualize a novel solution: reusable food packaging made from bamboo. Dubbing our idea "Reboo" for "reusable bamboo," we entered the challenge and emerged as finalists. This initial success, including a $5,000 prize and valuable mentorship, was just the beginning. Our ambition took us to Washington D.C., where we pitched our idea at the headquarters of National Geographic. While we didn't clinch the top prize, the experience was invaluable, providing us with a deeper insight into the environmental impact of disposable packaging and the potential for sustainable alternatives. Returning to Denmark, we were more determined than ever, leading to the rebranding of our venture to Kleen Hub.


Our Sustainable Packaging Solutions

Our 'Tap and Reuse' system eliminates traditional barriers to reusable packaging adoption, like deposits or the need for app downloads, by utilizing RFID and NFC technology. This allows consumers to effortlessly rent packaging with a simple tap of their payment card or smartphone, fostering a user-friendly experience that has achieved an impressive 98-99% return rate.

Adapting to the unique demands of various sectors, our technology is packaging agnostic and customizable, setting a new standard for sustainability across industries. Despite challenges, including legislative gaps in Denmark and industry-wide reluctance to adopt sustainable practices proactively, Kleen Hub's model has garnered positive feedback, indicating a growing readiness among businesses and consumers alike to embrace more environmentally responsible habits.

Our mission is to replace single-use packaging with a universally adaptable, reusable system is changing the game in sustainability. Our unique 'Tap and Reuse' model, designed to function in diverse environments like stadiums, festivals, corporate offices, and universities, champions convenience without compromising on environmental values. This system's core lies in its adaptability, allowing for different types of packaging and customizable return time frames, addressing the varied needs of our target sectors efficiently.


Sector-Specific Insights and Success Stories

Our observations reveal that coffee cups tend to be returned faster than food packaging, a distinction that underscores the importance of understanding sector-specific behaviors to optimize our system's efficiency. This insight has led us to adapt our strategies to cater to these differences, ensuring high return rates across the board.

A significant leap in our journey was the introduction of our app-less system, which saw a 20x increase in user engagement compared to the old app-reliant model. This transition to a more user-friendly approach has been pivotal in increasing adoption rates, as the convenience of not needing to download an app has made our solution more accessible to a wider audience. Additionally, consumer preferences have shown a tilt towards premium materials, with a notable favoritism for stainless steel over plastic, even though reusable plastic remains a sustainable option. This feedback has been invaluable in refining our offerings to align with user preferences.

One of our most compelling success stories unfolded at the Roskilde Festival in Scandinavia, where we piloted our 'Tap and Reuse' technology with a restaurant serving ramen and poke bowls. This was our first large-scale test of the new system for food packaging, and the results were remarkable. The festival, known for its lively atmosphere, proved to be an excellent testing ground, demonstrating a 97% return rate and an average return time of 40 minutes. This success story not only validated the effectiveness of our system in a challenging environment but also highlighted the potential for high-impact sustainability practices in the festival sector.


Kleen Hub's Vision: Scaling Sustainability Globally

As we chart the course for Kleen Hub's future, our immediate focus is on securing the necessary funding to propel our mission forward. Having successfully introduced our innovative 'Tap and Reuse' technology to the market, we're now witnessing an escalating interest from a wide range of clients and sectors, both domestically and internationally. This growing momentum underscores the universal appeal and applicability of our solution, compelling us to scale our operations to meet the global demand for sustainable packaging alternatives.

Our expansion strategy is multifaceted, with a significant emphasis on scaling up our technology to accommodate the interest from large clients worldwide. Recognizing the limitations of older systems that rely on deposit schemes or app-based interactions, we're exploring opportunities to license our system. This approach not only positions us as a leader in digitalizing and streamlining the reusable packaging process but also enables us to extend our impact by collaborating with and enhancing existing systems in the market.

Internationally, our pilot programs are gaining traction, from the vibrant coworking spaces of Brazil to the dynamic environments of stadiums and airports. These pilots are not just tests of our technology's adaptability but also affirmations of its capacity to deliver convenience and efficiency on a large scale. Our vision for Kleen Hub extends beyond just offering a product; we aim to establish a global standard for reusable packaging solutions that are accessible, user-friendly, and, most importantly, sustainable.




About the author

Robert Dichtl