One man's trash is another man's treasure
Here's how Finlayson, RePack and Posti made recycling worth it
Imagine piles of used clothing heaped up on top of each other. Thousands of pairs of jeans that no one wears anymore. That’s what textile company Finlayson had on their hands after organizing a month-long “send in your jeans” campaign in 2017. The result? They were able to recycle over 6000 pairs of jeans – and turn them into towels. That’s eleven tons of fabric that would otherwise have gone to waste.
The 200-year-old Finlayson is taking remarkable measures to promote the circular economy. With its recycling campaign, the company set a goal to improve sustainability in the textile industry and encouraged everyone’s participation. In addition to creating awareness and involvement, Finlayson also managed to reach an audience of people who don’t have access to its stores.
From brick-and-mortar stores to recyclable postal parcels
To turn the proverbial trash into treasure, Finlayson collaborated with Posti and RePack, a startup that develops recyclable postal parcels. RePack’s parcels were used by people who live far from Finlayson’s brick-and-mortar stores or would otherwise be unable to bring their fabrics there.
“The collaboration with Posti was professional and seamless”, says Finlayson’s Purchasing Manager Jarmo Lehmusvainio.
People could order a RePack package from the campaign site, put their old jeans in it and send the package to Finlayson free of charge. In return they’d receive a discount voucher. The RePack packages were so popular they ran out during the first week of the campaign, says Finlayson’s Corporate Responsibility Manager Elli Ojala.
“People were excited about the opportunity to mail their recyclable materials and took advantage of the vouchers”, she says.
Gaining new insights on clients
Of all the returned textiles, over 10% came in RePack parcels. According to Ojala, this indicates how important it is to consider those customers who want to participate in recycling but live too far from physical stores. Reaching so many people outside the realm of brick-and-mortar stores is likewise important when it comes to developing and improving Finlayson’s online store, Ojala continues.
The campaign also gave Finlayson some important insights into their clientele, says Jarmo Lehmusvainio. Posti equipped the RePack parcels with a tracking system that shows, for example, where the packages have been sent from. “We gained a lot of interesting data that we can use in the future when planning our operations and marketing”, Lehmusvainio says.
“The collaboration is a win-win situation for everyone”
Finlayson was the first to use RePack packages in a new way in their recycling campaign. Being associated with an attractive and well-known brand gave a boost to the startup, says Jonne Hellgren, one of RePack’s founders.
The company’s business is blooming on a global scale through e-commerce, especially online clothing stores. As consumers and companies alike are increasingly interested in the planet’s well-being, RePack’s sustainable operations flourish.
The customer orders an item from a webship, then returns the packaging in the mail and receives a voucher to the store as a thank-you. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved”, Hellgren says. “The customer gets something out of it, the online store gets clients to return to their site, Posti gets to deliver items and we can recycle our products. And it’s good for the environment”.
Posti enables the startup’s business model
Without Posti’s logistics RePack probably wouldn’t be where it is right now: RePack’s operation is based on Posti’s traditional services such as mail returns. Few new innovations are as tightly bound to Posti’s logistics and infrastructure as ours is, Hellgren says.
“At the moment we operate from Finland with Posti. However, we’re aiming at global growth. 40% of our clients are already international”, he explains. RePack has a lot of new ideas the company would like to turn into action with collaborators, especially Posti. Posti could play a significant role in increasing both RePack’s and its own business.