Evidently, sustainability has become very important in doing business in the modern world, as many businesses have revamped themselves to be more “green” by cutting down on single-use plastics and opting for reusable materials. The sustainability trend also gave birth to zero-packaging stores, a new kind of green business which has multiplied around Thailand. This new wave of stores enables customers to bring their containers to refill food, drinks and utility products like soaps, shampoos, detergents, all-purpose solutions, and many more.
Although this still looks unfamiliar for most Thais, until recently, an increased number of zero-packaging stores indicated that this movement has high tendencies to disrupt the way we consume everyday products. And there was a high chance that it would be favored by customers who want to reduce waste in everyday life.
Still, the paradigm has shifted again when the COVID-19 striked the world and caused many zero-packaging stores to close down temporarily. With more concerns on hygiene and the efforts to limit the spread of the virus, many consumers have returned to favour single-use plastics, believing that they are safer, and this behavioral change is expected to be a long-term one as long as the virus is still present.
In reality, a body of evidence suggests that with proper hygienic measures, reusable containers are still safe to use during the pandemic.
On March 17, 2020, the non-governmental organization UPSTREAM published a letter discussing single-use and reusable food packaging during the COVID-19 outbreak, and suggested that reusable food containers are safe given the proper use of washing with soap and hot water to kill the virus.
In order to maintain the business during this sensitive period, business owners and executives might need to endorse sustainability policies along with hygienic measures to boost up confidence and to provide knowledge to customers, enabling the businesses to continue in sustainable ways, both financially and environmentally.