Catherine Alsén Gelfgren: "The future of home delivery is circular"

Simple, efficient and circular – this is the motto of Catherine Alsén Gelfgren, project manager of Gordon Circular, a system that replaces single-use packaging for home delivery of food with a circular solution.

Soon, all those trips to the recycling station with paper and cardboard accompanying deliveries of goods you buy online could be a thing of the past. In a pilot project that Gordon started together with Coop this summer, a selected group of online shoppers can choose to receive their home deliveries in circular packaging instead of paper bags.

— There has been a huge interest in participating. We see that there is a real demand among consumers. We make it easy for customers to receive their home delivery of food while minimising the climate impact of single-use packaging," says Catherine. 

Gordon Circular is a complete system consisting of a physical package, a logistics solution and a tech solution for traceability and communication with the recipients.

The physical packaging that is now being tested with Coop includes an outer, hard part that protects the goods before they are received by the consumer and a soft reusable bag adapted for Coop's picking and handling from store to consumer. Gordon delivers the bags of food to Coop's customers, who return them to Gordon on their next delivery. The bags are washed and made ready for a new delivery from Coop.

— Because we handle food, there are high hygiene requirements such as ensuring that the packaging is capable of withstanding high-temperature washing," says Catherine.

The potential environmental benefits of the new system are enormous. A life cycle analysis from Linköping University shows that the bag only needs to make five loops for the system to have a lower climate impact than a paper bag, which is only used once. If the bag is used another 20 times, its total climate impact is reduced by 65% compared to the paper bag.

— Each bag is unique and traceable. In our tech solution, we can follow its climate impact and see how many times it is used, and the recipient can see their balance of bags and be reminded to return them for their next delivery," says Catherine. 

With the pilot project underway, Catherine and her team and project partners look forward to learning the insights and results before the next step of rapidly scaling up Gordon Circular in Sweden.

— It is incredible to see how we, together with our customers, drive the development towards less climate impact and at the same time shape the home deliveries of the future."