Zespri, the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, selling in over 50 countries, is partnering with Stockholm-based recycling startup Bower, to let consumers make money from recycling. Across the entirety of the US, Zespri customers will be able to use the Bower app to recycle packaging, earning $1.50 when they do so.
The US recycling rate has declined in recent years, from around 9% in 2018 to 5% at its lowest in 2021 (Reuters). Working with major organizations such as Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and P&G, Bower rewards users with points that can be exchanged for money, discounts or coupons when they recycle everyday packaging. The app is free to download and available across the US.
Incentivized Recycling – How does it work?
By downloading the Bower app, scanning the barcode of any Zespri product (including Zespri Sungold, Zespri Green and Zespri Organic), and depositing the packaging at a recycling point – found either already on the Bower system or one they register themselves – users will be credited $1.50. They will then be able to withdraw this money to a bank account or donate it to charity.
Bower and Zespri Partnership
Bower works with global consumer brands, including Unilever, Nestlé and Johnson & Johnson. As the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruits, New Zealand-headquartered Zespri’s decision to partner with Bower is a firm commitment to minimizing its business’ environmental impact. Zespri worked with Co-Cubed, a company that facilitates corporate-startup partnerships, to find businesses offering sustainable solutions to packaging, before selecting Bower from 72 suggested companies. The initiative started this summer, with data being collected and analyzed throughout the two-month period, in order to inform any longer-term partnership.
Co-founded in 2015 by brother and sister Suwar (CEO) and Berfin Roza Mert (COO), Bower is one of Sweden’s most popular apps (hitting #1 in the app store charts). In June 2022 alone, 2.2M packages were scanned and recycled using the technology. Bower recently raised a £3.6M Seed round, as announced by Business Insider, to help them expand in the U.S.
Bower’s CEO, Suwar Mert, comments, “Through this partnership, Zespri is setting a precedent for how companies should consider their environmental impact. Consumers increasingly want to see brands focusing on the afterlife of their packaging, and Zespri is doing exactly that. People all over the US will now be able to make money while recycling, and it’s this kind of ecological incentivisation that will allow the everyday shopper to help save the planet.”
Bower, the GreenTech startup headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, was co-founded in 2015 by brother and sister Suwar Mert (CEO) and Berfin Roza Mert (COO). The Bower app rewards users with points or money in exchange for recycling materials. Partnered with the likes of Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and P&G, the company employs a team of 25 people and has raised €5M ($5.7M) in investment to date.