Resource Use

Again secures £2.55m to create packaging supply chain infrastructure

London-based clean-tech start-up Again has gained £2.55m to create supply chain infrastructure, enabling packaging to be refilled and used again. The investment is funding a pilot scheme in London with the Budweiser Brewing Group, Diageo, Biffa, Greene King and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

Again FacilityThe company will use new automation, robotics and software technologies to build a ‘decentralised network of automated micro cleaning facilities’, which it says will help shift ‘billions of units’ of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) into the circular economy.

The pilot with Budweiser Brewing Group (Camden Town Brewery), Diageo (Johnnie Walker Black and Smirnoff) and Biffa launched last month, with Again and its partners collecting, cleaning and reusing tens of thousands of bottles consumed across London’s pubs, clubs and sport stadiums.

The model builds on partnerships within the FMCG value chain – brands, retailers, reusable packaging platforms and waste management companies. Dirty, used packaging will be collected and sent to Again’s cleaning facilities, where it is processed and put back on the market.

The facilities are the size of a shipping container, and, according to Again, use 76 per cent less water and 90 per cent less energy than traditional recycling methods, with the ability to process thousands of units per month. Facilities will be located in recycling plants, retailer distribution centres, and FMCG brand manufacturing plants, with the aim of assisting transportation logistics across the supply chain.

Resources & Waste Minister Jo Churchill said: “It is really encouraging to see businesses working together on this exciting new pilot to make reuse more affordable and I look forward to hearing the results. Through our new Environment Act we will tackle the nation’s ‘throwaway culture’ – incentivising manufacturers to produce more recyclable packaging, and putting in place consistent recycling collections for households and businesses.”

Matt Kennedy, founder and CEO of Again, also commented: “Reusable packaging is the future but today it’s prohibitively expensive for brands. We’re in the early stages of building a circular economy and we see our role being the infrastructure that underpins the packaging aspect of this on a mass scale.

“This can only be done with buy-in from across the value chain and we’re excited to be working in partnership with renowned brands, like Budweiser Brewing Group and Diageo, alongside waste management companies, like Biffa and SWRnewstar, to deliver a reusable packaging solution that can enable the shift of billions of units of packaging to reuse in an economically viable way.”

Oliver Finch, Investment Partner from Maersk Growth added: “Matt and the team at Again are building the enterprise grade circular supply chain, improving access and scalability of reusable packaging. Their decentralised approach and technology shows real promise to make circular packaging lower carbon and more cost effective than ever. We welcome and are very excited to support Again to create economic solutions that reduce landfill, water and environmental footprint, and to support a more sustainable future.”