Rethink Packaging branding by Wayne Barron - Rethink | Redesign | Refine | Resolve

Rethink Packaging was established to address and solve global plastic pollution issues from consumer packaging, whilst reducing the packaging industries impact on climate change.


Packaging systems have evolved to prioritise convenience over the environment, with packaging being discarded as waste after it has only been used once. The system is unsustainable because it doesn’t adhere to circular design principles.


The industry currently relies on recycling to deal with packaging waste, but statistics show the system is failing, with only a small percentage actually being recycled. The majority of plastic packaging is either buried in landfill, incinerated or escapes into the environment.


With climate change now a harsh reality, carbon emissions need to be drastically reduced. However packaging already has a huge carbon footprint from extraction, refining, manufacture and distribution, with recycling and subsequent re-manufacture only adding to overall emissions. 

Established methods of delivering consumer goods are having devastating effects on the environment, and require huge systemic change!


We believe circular design and system change are vital for solving global packaging waste issues. Developing reuse & refill systems, combined with establishing shared industry standards are the only solutions with potential to reduce societies environmental impact.


Transitioning to reusable packaging is an incredible opportunity to redesign a system that is infinitely more efficient, virtually eradicating waste, with less demand on materials and reduced pressure on the recycling infrastructure. 

Benefits of reusable packaging include:

  • Reduced packaging waste
  • Realising value in the packaging form (currently lost through recycling) and materials
  • Spreading the packaging’s inherent carbon footprint over multiple uses
  • Lowering emissions from recycling and subsequent remanufacture
  • Being more convenient for consumers (through well designed systems) 
  • Moving society away from the existing single-use mindset
  • Helping supermarkets meet WRAP Plastic Pact targets
  • Empowering consumers to shop sustainably


We can realise greater environmental benefits through standardisation, by developing industry standard reusable packaging sizing, formats and materials. 

Benefits of standardisation include:

  • Reduced cost and risk developing reusable packaging for supermarkets, brands and retailers
  • Easing the implementation of refill business models by adopting shared systems
  • Creating a pool of shared reusable packaging available for any supermarket, brand or retailer
  • Simplifying the refill process (as standardised packaging doesn’t have to be returned to its original point-of-origin)
  • Promoting the use of more sustainable materials (as no supermarket or brand will have a competitive advantage by using more visually appealing substrates)
  • Enabling the transition away from fossil based to renewable materials (purchasing higher quantities of renewable materials make them more viable and cost effective)
  • Drastically reducing transportation packaging waste (when combined with standardised reusable outer transportation packaging)
  • Seamless integration with existing distribution systems (containers and pallets)
  • Easing the transition to a shared national return and cleaning infrastructure
  • Greater opportunity to deliver food and drink using servitisation business models
  • Higher recycling rates (by using simplified standardised materials)
  • Improved customer convenience (with packaging return to any store)
  • Easing the transition to a circular economy


A deposit return scheme adds value to packaging, ensuring it is returned after use. There are various ways to add value, either by using a refundable deposit, a customer reward scheme or charging a fee for non-returned packaging. 

Once returned the packaging can be dealt with correctly, initially being reused as many times as possible, before eventually being recycled at its inevitable end-of-life. Creating a closed loop system will enable food grade containers to be recycled back into food grade packaging, creating higher quality recyclate with less chance of contamination.

Adding value to packaging will move society away from the existing single-use mindset, drastically reducing litter and materials escaping into the environment.

“If a bottle is used 20 times it means 95% less packaging waste” Ellen MacArthur Foundation


We envisage a future where consumer goods are delivered with minimal environmental impact. Using a systemic approach we will design reusable packaging systems that design out waste and improve efficiencies, drastically reducing emissions. Shared reusable packaging will integrate with established delivery systems, being monitored to enable constant improvements. Packaging return systems will evolve to provide complete convenience for the customer.


A range of standardised reusable formats will be shared globally by supermarkets to deliver all product types, enabling return to any store. The packaging will incorporate recyclable outer sleeves to display branding and product information. Reusable packaging will integrate with self-refill stations, giving customers options on how they shop sustainably.


Reusable food and drink packaging will work seamlessly with international transportation systems, integrating perfectly with standardised containers, pallets and delivery vehicles. Outer transportation packaging will also be reusable, working seamlessly with core packaging to eradicate transportation waste and improve efficiencies. 

Utilising space within empty returning delivery vehicles and shipping containers to return used packaging will streamline the system, reducing the number of vehicles required during redistribution.


Empty packaging will be returned via an international network of cleaning facilities, adhering to the highest hygiene standards to provide clean containers ready for reuse. These sterilised environments will provide a more hygienic and controllable alternative to existing dirty and inefficient recycling processes.


Automated tag and trace systems will monitor the packaging journey, providing vital carbon data to streamline the system and further reduce carbon emissions. This will also enable the addition of carbon labelling on-pack, to allow end-user to shop more sustainably. 


We will utilise a closed loop system, where food and drink packaging are reused as many times as possible, before being recycled back into food grade packaging.

A closed loop recycling system will provide complete control over the packaging and materials, enabling recycled content in new packaging to far exceed the 30% required under Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) legislations, with the potential to reach 100% recycling rates.

Cleaning and recycling will be completed within the same facilities, enabling local processing to minimise transportation distances, negating the need to import potentially contaminated recyclate from unknown sources.


Adding a value to the packaging using a Deposit Return Scheme will ensure customers return their packaging, initially for reuse, then eventually for recycling. This guarantees all materials are captured, with the added benefit of eliminating litter.


Our redesigned reusable packaging will be airtight, then resealable once opened, keeping produce fresh for longer, further reducing food waste.


Once reusable packaging formats are established, we will transition away from finite fossil based materials, replacing them with infinitely renewable bio-based materials. We will ensure naturally sourced organic materials are non-toxic to reduce the risk to human health and the natural environment. 


Convenience will be essential for the system to be adopted by customers, so it will be designed with ease-of-use at its core to ensure the optimum customer experience. 


Our vision demonstrates a system with drastically reduced waste, lower emissions and minimal environmental impact. 

A globally scaleable format, with the packaging industry working together towards shared goals, establishing standardised reusable packaging, using shared distribution and return networks, with integrated cleaning and recycling infrastructures. 

We envisage an efficient system that is infinitely expandable, utilising technology to monitor and highlight further improvements. Benefiting from hygienic cleaning facilities to fully utilise the packaging form, before eventually recovering all materials for recycling. 

A system that will ease the transition to renewable materials and reduce our reliance on fossil based materials. Essentially delivering convenience for customers and enabling future generations to shop sustainably.

“If you do it right, it will last forever” Massimo Vignelli


Plastic pollution and climate change are the biggest threats ever faced by humanity. This challenge will require contributions and collaboration from industry experts across the entire supply chain, working together towards a shared goal as a global consortium.


We intend to be part of the solution, and pledge our support to help establish a shared vision that can be used as a framework for the packaging industry to work towards.


But the enormity of this problem exceeds industry, with global problems demanding global solutions. A positive outcome will require funding for research and development, along with commitment from governments to drive legislation change, following support and guidance from industry bodies.


These problems require urgent attention, it is vital we act now to safeguard the well-being of future generations. We cannot tackle these challenges alone, but together we can accomplish anything!

“Great things are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people” Steve Jobs


Wayne Barron is a creative professional with over 25 years design and packaging industry experience. Having worked in packaging throughout his extensive career, Wayne became increasingly frustrated with the industries reliance on single-use packaging.


So in 2017 he ended a creditable position at a leading supermarket to devote his career to researching and developing truly sustainable packaging solutions. The following years of intensive research concluded refill & reuse offer the greatest potential to reduce packaging waste.


Then in 2020 Wayne founded Rethink Packaging, with the aim of developing reusable packaging systems, designed specifically for reuse. His industry experience has given him an understanding of the entire supply chain, enabling him to visualise achievable systemic solutions.

For more information about Wayne please connect on LinkedIn, or for examples of his work please visit

We currently receive valued support from the following organisations

Clean Growth UK
Innovate UK Edge
Greentech South - The Technology and Innovation Cluster

Working towards a future, where people value packaging


We welcome connecting with like-minded people and organisations, and invite opportunities to collaborate on sustainable packaging projects.

Telephone 0118 9894455
Address Wokingham, Berkshire RG40
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