Why the Future of Packaging is Returnable - and Circular, with Chantal Emmanuel, LimeLoop

In this episode of the Beyond the Shelf: Product & Packaging Podcast, Laura Foti spoke with Chantal Emmanuel, CTO and Co-Founder of LimeLoop about disrupting the packaging industry, powering the circular economy – and why returning those unworn pair of jeans in your closet should be easy.

Posted on 
May 17, 2022
Laura Foti
CMO, Specright

Sustainability is one of the biggest challenges facing our generation – and single use packaging is high on the list of culprits.

That’s why Chantal Emmanuel is reimagining how we get things from “point A” to “point B” with LimeLoop.

LimeLoop is the leading logistics platform for retailers shipping goods. Their returnable packaging system incorporates reusable packaging, software, and sensors to change how consumers and brands send and receive goods – helping brands create positive consumer experiences while having a positive impact on the environment.

But changing consumer behavior isn’t easy.

In our conversation, we talked about the impact of returnable packaging, why making returns easy is key to creating loyal customers, and why it’s important for emerging brands to be sustainable and profitable from the get-go.

Below are some highlights from our conversation – you can listen to the full audio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. And be sure to subscribe to our channel to get the latest episodes as soon as they drop.

You can catch the full episode here – and be sure to leave a rating or review if you liked the show – it helps others find the podcast.

On the importance of packaging – and having items arrive unbroken the first time

“There’s nothing less sustainable than having to reship a product because it arrives broken. So every single time something arrives broken, that’s a really bad impact on the environment. So we have to protect the products that are being sent back and forth. So living within the world of packaging we thought, how can we do that in the most sustainable way?”

On the the consumer delight element of returnable & reusable packaging

“So consumers right now, if we’re lucky, are breaking down their cardboard boxes and putting them in recycling. The numbers show us that, more often than not, around 91% of the time [boxes are] just going to the landfill. So it’s just going into their garbage pile, but we said, “Hey, isn’t it a lot easier to just drop that into your mailbox. Isn’t that more fun?” Isn’t it cleaner? Isn’t it more enjoyable?”

On why returns should be easy for consumers

“…I always say it’s shortsighted to try to make it difficult for consumers to return an item. I understand why, and I know more than most about how much it costs to send things back and where those fees come in and then how difficult it is for retailers. But there’s nothing more costly than losing a customer. And there’s no easier way to lose a customer than not allowing them to have a good shopping experience.”

On her inspiration for being part of the future of packaging

“I have this vision – I have a two-year-old nephew – and I just want to see him talking about packaging in a way that’s just like, can you believe we used to do that? Like, there was no information or I couldn’t know what this was and then my aunt came along and made the solution and this is why we have the packaging we have today? So how do we make that roadmap to a future where we know what’s going on? Where we have the environmental impact not only measured, but also mitigated. And we’re able to make it a really easy system for everyone to participate in.”

On building a sustainable business

“…We ran the numbers before we even launched, because we were like, if this does not make sense for the environment, then there’s no point in doing this…It’s about a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions using returnable packaging, even with that trip back to the retailer that it’s making each and every time.”

Listen to the whole episode here – and be sure to follow Chantal and LimeLoop on LinkedIn.


Laura Foti

Laura leads marketing and investor relations at Specright. Prior to Specright, she led advertising and analytics at GE Digital, GE’s Industrial Internet software business. Before that, she was a consultant at Deloitte Digital working in enterprise digital transformation, where she helped clients design and deploy eCommerce experiences, develop revenue-driving mobile apps, and reimagine their global digital marketing strategy. Laura was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for marketing and advertising and Brand Innovators 40 Under 40 and 100 Women to Watch lists. She graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She resides in Newport Beach, CA.

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