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Algramo is a system that allows customers to refill household products by using smart powered dispensing machines and packaging chipped with RFID. Customers credit their account through an app and bring their smart packaging to an Algramo dispenser. The machine will recognise the packaging and dispense the right product at a desired quantity without the need for login or payment.
Algramo’s dispensing systems serve brands such as Quix (washing up liquid), Omo (clothes washing liquid), Pinesol and Clorox (general cleaning). The dispensers are currently available in Santiago (Chile), New York (USA) and Jakarta (Indonesia).
In 2020, over a quarter of a million packaging units were put out into the market through Algramo, all of which were 100% reusable.
Algramo’s refill platform is an iconic example of ‘Refill-on-the-go’, which is one of the four consumer-facing models for reuse:
Refill at home – users refill their reusable container at home
Refill on the go – users refill their reusable container away from home
Return from home – packaging is picked up from home by a collection service
Return on the go – users return the packaging at a store or drop-off point
is the gold standard for a for plastics because, unlike recycling, it maintains the structural integrity of packaging, thereby conserving all of the resources used in the manufacturing process. One of the main challenges for reuse models relates to hygiene.
However as most of Algramo’s products are cleaning products, this issue is much easier to manage compared to refilling food products. There was a 356% rise in sales in Santiago during April - June 2020, when the city was in full lockdown.
Algramo’s refill-on-the-go system demonstrates many of the key benefits associated with reuse:
Reduces costs – less plastic is needed to supply products to a larger customer base
Adapts to user needs – customers only pay for what they need
Improves user experience – smart dispensers and smart packaging enables smart payments
Builds brand loyalty – flexibility and an improved user experience builds loyalty
Gathers business intelligence – this allows the product offerings and the system to be optimised.
If only 20% of all plastic packaging was converted to reuse, this would represent a USD 10 billion business opportunity.
Perhaps the most significant potential that Algramo offers is that it allows a wider demographic of customers access to eco-friendly brands, by striving to be both better and cheaper. CEO José Manuel Moller estimates that 30% of a product's price is in the packaging, so if you can eliminate the packaging, sell at bulk prices and allow customers to dispense only the amount they need then, in his words, “people do not have to decide between their pocket or their planet”.
Techcrunch article on Algramo’s recent USD8.5 million funding round - here