• Jarratt Ong

A wasteless postal service system with Package Pals




As lockdown happens in Singapore, the inevitable reliance on delivery services, to reduce the need to go out, has increased the amount of packaging waste. That's just part and... parcel of the new normal. Here is where Package Pals comes in.


Package Pals is a circular packaging initiative! They aim to reduce e-commerce packaging waste through the collecting of packaging from consumers, and education and outreach in order to achieve a wasteless postal service system.


This amazing initiative is by Rachel Han, Rachel Lee, and Puan Xin. Check out the episode with us!


Thank you Lihong and Irsyad for your hard work!


The problem of packaging in Singapore

The plastic envelopes that comes from deliveries are not recyclable. What Package Pals does is to collect them and redistribute them back to businesses who have green packaging needs.


In order to maximise their impact, they have been doing educational outreach programs to help spread awareness of the issue of packaging waste.


Even though businesses are shifting to biodegradable or compostable packaging, Singapore still lacks facilities to mass compost and biodegradable such packaging as they need industrial facilities to fully compost them.


Growth and Journey

The initiative is consistently growing. Initially they didn't have educational outreach workshops in mind but they have been open to such ideas in the spirit of being not afraid to try new things. Mostly because they realised that they get to learn a lot even if they fail.


One important aspect is the support they have received by just being open enough to reach out to environmental and thrift groups which someone actually sent them a three-page PDF filled with feedback and suggestions during their market research phase. Such support has been heartening to them as they haven't even started Package Pals officially.


Some great resources that keep them inspired!

Partnering with Upcircle.App

As the circular economy thrives on working together, Package Pals has partnered up with Upcircle.app, by the founder Wee Leng, which Rachel describes it as "kind of like Kickstarter but for objects" where people can donate materials to artists that want to do a certain project such as with upcycled glass and there will be a tracker for everyone to follow.


Further reading!

Here are some great initiatives, resources, and organisations mentioned made by Package Pals:

Eco-business

Future Earth

theweirdandwild

Our Changing Climate

Eco Youth Collective

Youth Action Challenge


Also, the articles that have mentioned Package Pals if you want to know more about them.


Check out the episode! Again, thank you Lihong and Irsyad for your hard work!

Need more? You can listen to the podcast over at Spotify and check out Package Pals!


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Timestamp

00:33 What is Package Pals?

01:10 Introduction by Rachel Lee and Rachel Han

01:42 What does Package Pals do?

02:22 How Package Pals started during the Circuit Breaker

03:38 Why poly mailers arent recyclable

04:45 The dynamics of the team

07:50 Starting the logistics and drop off points despite happening during Circuit Breaker

09:10 Their development of the target audiences and growing through word of mouth

10:48 Business model, pricing, grant, fundraising, and educational talks

12:15 Their future goals such as take-back programs

13:10 Issue of Singapore's lack of facilities dealing with biodegradable or compostable packaging

14:20 Possibility of redesign of poly mailers to help with reusage

15:45 Limitations of distribution second-hand packaging and overcoming them

17:15 How did volunteers find them

19:00 Their volunteers' generated content

21:30 Their decentralised meet-ups with volunteers

22:40 Resonating with the volunteers and letting them facilitate with the sorting

23:35 Educational groups targeting young adults

25:00 Reasons for taking a gap year

28:00 Volunteers helping them out with tech to help with collection

28:35 Real life experiences helping them make educated choices

29:50 Technology, data analytics, and resource matching sheet helping them be efficient

32:30 Dealing with wish recycling

33:30 Serendipity and letting themselves try new things such as working with organisations

37:30 Sources of inspiration and how they take care of themselves while running many initiatives

41:45 Their favourite resources (eco-business, @FutureEarth, @theweirdandwild) Changing Climate on YouTube)

43:30 Shoutout to Upcircle.app that they are partnering with: A kickstarter for projects. Eco Youth Collective. Youth Action Challenge.



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