The deposit to simplify zero waste

The deposit to simplify zero waste

DAY

A Quebec entrepreneur wants to eliminate 25 tonnes of waste by 2024 while allowing her customers to see the packaging removed in real time thanks to the deposit.

” I want to rethink the food distribution system and show that the deposit, it works and it's profitable,” says Lauren Rochat, founder of BocoBoco, Quebec's first online zero-waste grocery store. < /p>

The young Montreal company won several distinctions this year for its innovative business model based on the circular economy: the Honorary Scholarship from PME Montréal, a research grant from Adopte Inc., and a investment of nearly $400,000 by Recyc-Québec.

More and more consumers want to consume responsibly. According to a study published by Capterra last month, 87% of Canadian consumers prefer to buy products from companies with circular economy practices. 

TONS OF WASTE ELIMINATED

But the options offered hardly meet the need, according to Ms. Rochat. Traditional grocery stores offer packaged products and generate food waste. And the zero waste alternative options require the consumer to bring their own containers to different shops. 

To simplify zero waste, the young woman decided in 2019 to turn to the deposit box. At BocoBoco, the customer places their grocery order online and receives everything at home in returnable containers. He just has to put the containers back on the next delivery.

Ms Rochat sees the deposit as a green and winning business model. “Whether you are a zero waste consumer or not, your bottles of beer, you bring them back to the grocery store. If everything was recorded, there would be no more waste”, she maintains.

After three years of existence, the SME carried out its first impact study in the spring and believes that it has eliminated nine tons of waste. With the support of Recyc-Québec in particular, BocoBoco is now embarking on a growth phase and wishes to push the challenge to 25 tonnes eliminated in the next two years. 

To do this, it moved into new premises this week and launched a new website. The latter will allow the customer to see in real time the saving of waste achieved, a first. 

The company estimates that a family of two children who do their grocery shopping online at BocoBoco would eliminate 42 .6kg of waste per year.

AN INNOVATIVE MODEL

The deposit-based business model represents a “logistical challenge”. » : it is necessary to put the portions in the containers, to manage the washing, to proceed to the refund, and to have a delivery system allowing the collection. But “it's possible and profitable,” says the businesswoman.

She relies on automation to reduce the impact of additional tasks. And his business choices have significant financial benefits. Selling online minimizes personnel and real estate costs. And the SME's zero waste policy does not stop at packaging. The boss is also aiming for zero losses.