The University of Vaasa, in partnership with Finnish non-profit research institution VTT, has launched a new research initiative to support the development of reusable packaging systems in Finland. 

The research project, named ‘Reusify’, is a 30-month-long co-innovation effort, which is being supported by 21 stakeholder organisations. 

It is mainly being funded by Business Finland and has a total budget of €2m ($2.1m).  

As part of the research endeavour, participating stakeholders seek to minimise the utilisation of packaging materials, particularly those derived from fossil sources, and to address the issue of packaging waste.  

The project is focused on the development of packaging solutions and fostering new competencies and export opportunities for a broad spectrum of Finnish industry participants. 

The consortium includes prominent entities such as plastic manufacturers Borealis and Orthex alongside S Group and K Group, two of Finland’s retail powerhouses.  

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Waste management expert Lassila & Tikanoja and food and multiservice provider Compass Group Finland are also integral to the project.  

These collaborations are set to propel the project towards its goal of establishing a reusable packaging system in the country. 

According to the University of Vaasa and VTT, the project’s potential is significant, with projections indicating the possibility of tapping into an export market worth €1.45bn by 2035.  

Reusify also encompasses the entire value chain, from raw materials to tracking and software solutions, including logistics, machinery, cleaning, filling, labelling, and more. 

Additionally, the Reusify project is linked to the Borealis SPIRIT programme and is complemented by six more parallel projects.  

These projects are dedicated to scrutinising the essential components of the future value chain to support domestic reusable packaging systems.

University of Vaasa senior researcher Kyösti Pennanen said: “The research will explore various reuse dimensions, including the ecosystems and business models of reuse, the design of reuse systems, circular packaging solutions, and the sustainability scenarios and tradeoffs. Additionally, we will also analyse consumer experience and acceptance.”