4.2.2 Circular Business Models

Course subject(s) Module 4. Reuse of packaging

Bakker et al. [1] have identified 5 circular business model archetypes that support the cycling strategies we’ve just discussed. On the next page we will explore how these archetypes can be applied to packaging.

Classic Long Life Model
A traditional business model focused on providing products with a long lifetime. A product is known to last long and is sold like a normal product. An example of this is a plastic reusable crate for distribution instead of a cardboard box.

Hybrid Model
A Hybrid Model relies on a combination of a long lasting product with consumables (often disposables) to fulfill a certain function. Recurring sales of consumables forms the main source of revenue. With regard to packaging, this is usually a reusable packaging that requires refills of a specific product from the same producer, for instance: an ink cartridge for a printer that can be refilled with ink.

Gap Exploiter Model
A business model that exploits residual value of (otherwise wasted) resources from one production chain in another. The original producer does not make use of the resource or business opportunity, so another uses it to For instance using agricultural waste to make packaging, such as the packaging made from tomato leaves that Christiaan Bolck showed.

Access Model
In an Access Model a manufacturer retains ownership of a product. Consumers pay a fee in order to access it. An example with a consumer product is a car rental system, where you pay to be able to use the car for a certain amount of time. With regard to packaging, this is usually a secondary or tertiary packaging in the business-to-business market. For instance, a pooling system with shipping containers or reusable pallets.

Performance Model
A Performance Model is focused on performing a certain function for consumers rather than the actual product. This means that the company promises to fulfill a certain service, without specifying how they do it.  Your phone subscription for instance: you pay a service provider to have reliable connection, but you don’t care through what kind of transition towers this happens. An example with packaging would be a shipping company that is payed to safely transport goods from Russia to India within a certain time, without specifying the packaging used in the process.

Further reading:
[1] Bakker, C., den Hollander, M., Van Hinte, E., & Zijlstra, Y. (2014). Products that last: Product design for circular business models. TU Delft Library.

Creative Commons License
Sustainable Packaging in a Circular Economy by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/sustainable-packaging-in-a-circular-economy/.
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