Startup barePack Lets You Share Reusable Containers From S$3/Mth

Roxane Uzureau attended a ZeroWaste and Responsible Lifestyle event in Singapore in 2018.

It was there that she unwittingly met her barePack co-founders: Maximilien Mason, 29; Valerian Fauvel, 35 years old; and Clement Hochart, 33.

While waiting for one of the speakers to arrive on stage, she casually shared an idea for sharing reusable containers with a participant who was sitting next to her.

The idea piqued the man’s interest, and he then pitched the idea to his other friends. The three of them ended up contacting Roxane the following week to discuss the idea further and pursue it together as a business venture.

Overuse of disposable plastic products

Growing up abroad in European countries where recycling was the norm, Roxane was shocked when she first moved to Singapore.

The 31-year-old observed that plastic disposables were often used, but never recycled.

disposable plastic
Disposable plastic / Image credit: Association Meetings International

It’s worrying because nobody really cares about the packaging we get our food in, she lamented, adding that all consumers want is “tasty food” at the end. of the day.

She firmly believed that she was “doing things right by recycling” until China refused to accept the world’s garbage in January 2018.

The waste crisis opened my eyes and made me realize how big the problem of single use and waste was, and how recycling was not going to solve it.

There is no such thing as a green throwaway in the context of sustainability – using resources to create a product that will be used for a fraction of the time it took to manufacture and cost more to dispose of doesn’t make sense.

Roxane Uzureau, co-founder and CEO of barePack

Find an alternative to bring your own containers

While BYO (bring your own) is a simple and effective way to cut down on consumables, it poses several challenges for consumers and restaurants.

First of all, it’s inconvenient. You need to plan your day in advance, and today’s consumers don’t want the hassle of having extra containers on them “just in case” they want to go out.

They also can’t carry as many containers as they might need.

Second, BYO is disrupting the restaurant’s operations. In case the restaurant prepares the meal in advance in containers, they need to take a little extra time to re-prepare for someone bringing their own container.

If they are concerned about hygiene, they may even want to wash the box before using it. It also helps to ensure that they are not held responsible if said customer becomes ill.

Additionally, food handlers are not inclined to accept personal items, especially in these times of COVID-19, when people are doing their best to avoid any risk of contamination.

Restaurants are also unfamiliar with the various sizes and shapes of containers that consumers bring, and some worry that the portions served are not standardized and that they could waste money or that small portions in large quantities. large containers give the impression that they are under-served.

Roxane Uzureau, co-founder and CEO of barePack

reusable cup and container barepack
Reusable mug and container / Image credit: barePack

To overcome these issues, Roxane and her co-founders launched a reusable container sharing service in Singapore called barePack.

With barePack, users no longer have to worry about how many containers they might need or what happens if they forget to take them out.

“BarePack containers are available just when (the user) needs them, right at the restaurant,” Roxane explained.

Since their containers are stored and washed by restaurants, hygiene is also ensured.

“In addition to (that) (restaurants) can cook the basic meal there to save time and not change their operations. With standardized sizes, restaurants are confident about the portions they serve.

More than 100 F&B brands on board

Like all other startups, their entrepreneurial journey has been fraught with pitfalls.

As a bootstrap startup, funding is always a major concern for them.

“(We) follow a very light spending discipline to ensure that we can cost-effectively deliver a very affordable service that can cost rival large-scale single-use containers,” Roxane said.

While most customers loved their idea of ​​a reusable container sharing service, there were many initial hygiene concerns.

The lack of understanding around the concept of cleanliness is a challenge. There is nothing clean about single-use, clear plastic.

In fact, it has never been washed, has potentially been stored in hot areas and prone to material degradation, handled by many people, wrapped in non-food plastics, and stored in a dusty pantry.

Roxane Uzureau, co-founder and CEO of barePack

Many people think single-use containers are safer, so the team has stepped up their education efforts.

Additionally, barePack containers have a reuse lifespan of 500 applications.

reusable barepack container
Image Credit: barePack

“If we replaced the 100 containers of a restaurant per day with our solution (at an average weight of 20 g per single-use container) in our more than 100 sites, this represents an annual saving of 73,000 kg of plastic waste / packaging, ”said Roxane.

The other challenge was to integrate restaurants into their nascent platform.

Most of the players are still largely traditional and are not receptive to the concept of the sharing economy, but there are also many who have a strong sustainability policy.

There were also concerns that it would take time and energy to train their staff to adopt this new practice.

Dispelling this “perceived complexity,” Roxane pointed out that barePack only takes less than half an hour to set up and explain.

reusable woobbee barepack mug
Woobbee Bubble Tea Reusable Mug / Image Credit: barePack

Currently there are over 100 restaurants and counting under barePack, including F&B brands like SaladStop !, Da Paolo, Woobbee and Kopifellas.

“We are really proud to cater to a variety of cultural palaces and our goal is to include all of the local favorite places,” said Roxane.

How to use barePack

The barePack app is free to download for iOS and Android devices.

When signing up, users can choose between a monthly plan (S $ 5 / month) and an annual plan (S $ 3 / month).

Once they sign up as a paid member, they can use their reusable container sharing service at any of their participating restaurants.

reusable container for barepack application
Image Credit: barePack

They just need to scan the QR code at checkout to choose the container type and quantity you need for your order, then flash the confirmation message in the app to the staff.

Everything else (works) the same: you place the order with the restaurant staff and pay them directly.

The member can (then) return the box to any partner restaurant, not just where they picked it up. … There is no forced return by date to encourage them to reuse the box or mug (as and when) when they need it.

Roxane Uzureau, co-founder and CEO of barePack

She added that there is no penalty fee for members who do not return the containers as it discourages people from trying their service.

“(These fees) seem more punitive than rewarding,” she commented.

Reusable containers for food delivery

It’s clear Singaporeans love the convenience and aren’t ready to forgo delivery, so something needs to be done to curb the flow of waste.

Additionally, COVID-19 led to a drop in restaurant visits, so they were forced to explore delivery solutions “to meet people where they were now: at home.”

This is what sparked the collaboration with food delivery companies Deliveroo and foodpanda.

We contacted foodpanda and they were very excited. I think (sharing reusable containers) is not an area where they have the ability to deploy resources, as it is another business in and of itself, and not theirs, so collaboration was welcome.

Roxane Uzureau, co-founder and CEO of barePack

However, bringing it into the food delivery meant some changes had to be made to the menu.

“You have to remember that we are talking to people who need to get approval from above and at the end of the day a company looks at the business metrics to decide if they (should) go ahead with something. ”Said Roxane.

“Being so young and it’s never been done before, no one had those parameters.”

One thing was certain, however. The Singapore government has been pushing for sustainable initiatives and more restaurants are being criticized for their packaging choices.

barepack x deliveroo

We then had the opportunity to collaborate with Deliveroo. (Their) approach was different, focusing on (piloting) key neighborhoods (first) to get more support to develop.

Again, all of these companies are supportive of the reuse model, but they have KPIs to adhere to and must justify the time, energy, and marketing resources they devote to pitching our reuse solution to decision makers with whom we are not in direct contact. .

Roxane Uzureau, co-founder and CEO of barePack

All in all, Roxane believes that she has “come a long way in a relatively short period of time” and is proud to be able to enrich delivery offers with its reuse model.

So the next time you order from foodpanda and Deliveroo, remember that you can opt for reusable containers.

barepack reusable container depot
Image Credit: barePack

Once you have finished your meal wash the containers and then you can drop them off anywhere in the barePack network.

A shift towards sustainability

Currently, the founders are studying different applications for barePack in Singapore.

They also plan to expand their operations overseas. In fact, they have already successfully launched their first phase in Paris.

“Europe is ahead of us in Asia in terms of willingness to move towards circular solutions,” explained Roxane.

To move forward, it foresees a “major global movement in favor of reuse”. She is convinced that reuse will soon be synonymous with high quality and accountability, as opposed to low-cost, low-quality single use.

barePack is a movement. It’s a way of life: eliminating all unnecessary waste from our daily lives to live a healthier and more sustainable life.

Roxane Uzureau, co-founder and CEO of barePack

Featured Image Credit: barePack

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