Releasing the reuse revolution in the global south: The transition of businesses from single-use plastic packaging to reuse models at the base of the pyramid in Indonesia
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With billions of single-use plastics sachets begin sold in Indonesia, were waste management is lacking, reuse is needed to solve the plastic waste problem. This research analyses the transition towards reuse at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) in Indonesia using a Multi-Level Perspective. At the global and Indonesian landscape, low oil and plastic prices keep up single-use plastics, while increasing awareness of the plastic waste problem is putting pressure on the single-use plastics regime. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is channeling this pressure into a specific call for reuse. The transition towards reuse at the BoP is still a very early phase however. Some start-ups are piloting at a small scale at the local level, but multinationals have not dared to pilot reuse at the BoP yet. There are several drivers and barriers along the transition dimensions. There are safety barriers, such as contamination, hygiene and related legal concerns that hold the multinationals back. The industry is found to be risk averse and is not innovative. Start-ups however test out new technologies that make reuse more attractive. Low sachet prices are a barrier in the market dimension, but only a small discount or a reward is enough for reuse at the BoP. Reuse can be more convenient due to control over the dosage. Moreover, culturally Indonesian are open to reuse and are already used to refilling. At the policy level there is a ban on sachets in the making that could provide an window of opportunity. Connections between the different levels proved to be important. Start-ups have problems getting funds in Indonesia. International sustainable investors, awards and competitions are needed to scale up. Challenges, awards and internationals conferences also provide a platform for entrepreneurs to exchange knowledge with each other and learn about developments within the sector. Start-ups and incumbents complement each other. Reuse start-ups can pioneer reuse models, because they are agile, innovative and willing to take risks. However, they need the market access and financial power of multinationals. Incumbents see the small start-ups as symbiotic and showed great interest in piloting with the start-ups. However, the two actors had trouble finding each other. Entrepreneurs also need to be careful that incumbents do not gain too much power as an investor. Larger start-ups are in a better position to negotiate and provide the logistics and the platform that is needed to realize collaboration with multinationals.