Again, a London-based cleantech startup has just secured £2.55M in pre-seed investment in a round led by Eka Ventures and backed by Maersk Growth.
The funding will be used to further the development of Again’s proprietary CleanCells, the world’s smartest system for cleaning packaging for refill & reuse. It will also enable the launch of more sites across the UK, targeting the rollout of 3-5 CleanCells.
“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 show 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.” Oliver Finch, Investment Partner from Maersk Growth commented.
The inaccessibility of reusable packaging
Reusable packaging has been prohibitively expensive to brands, especially to manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). While the general concern of sustainability has pushed us further into creating and advocating for circular economies, reusable packaging hasn’t taken off as expected.
In fact, the situation has grown to be far worse owing to a general ‘throwaway culture’ among people in these product ecosystems. Manufacturers still find it expensive to recycle due to the lack of enough incentives as well as cost-saving measures.
Applying the latest automation, robotics and software technologies, Again is developing a smart system for cleaning packaging for refill and reuse. Again’s compact, shipping container-sized CleanCell will use 76% less water & 90% less energy than traditional recycling methods. It supports the capacity to efficiently process and clean thousands of packaging units each month, availing them for refill and reuse.
Again’s pioneering cleaning technology system is already matching the cost of single-use packaging for small brands.
FMCG brands are restricted to reuse by the high costs and the lack of reliable cleaning infrastructure. Again’s model builds on strategic partnerships across the entire FMCG value chain with a growing number of some of the largest FMCG brands, retailers, reusable packaging platforms and even waste management companies.
The dirty, used packaging is collected and sent to Again’s CleanCells, where it is cleaned using its advanced cleaning system, and then redistributed back into the economy. The technology is giving brands a unique data insight into their packaging inventory and cost savings as the circular economy takes hold.
Again is planning for the decentralised planting of its CleanCells in recycling facilities, retailer’s distribution centres and FMCG brand manufacturing plants, planning to drive significant efficiency in transportation logistics across the supply chain.
Led by Matt Kennedy, its founder and CEO, are supported by a talented team of packaging, circular economy and engineering talent, The UK-based startup was born out of the Founders Factory’s Venture Studio. Its team comprises talent previously working at top brands such as Unilever, Loop, Zoa Robotics and Mayway.
Again is piloting the collection, cleaning and redistribution of thousands of Budweiser Brewing Group (Camden Town Brewery), Johnnie Walker Black and Smirnoff bottles, this spring. Partnering with waste management company Biffa, the project will use an electric vehicle supplied by Renault to collect bottles from Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, Greene King, Clays and a variety of London’s hottest nightclubs, including Brixton Jamm. Again’s pilot will assist to inform the future design of Again’s next-gen CleanCells as it prepares to scale.
Resources & Waste Minister, Jo Churchill commented, “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.”