An Estonian environmental company Ringo Eco
, which develops a recycling system for ready-to-eat food packaging, has attracted 500,000 euros from leading private and venture investors in order to launch an Estonian-wide platform for the return of ready-to-eat food packaging this year. Starting this week, the service will be available for restaurants, office buildings, apartment buildings and private homes in Tallinn and Tartu.
Co-founder of Ringo Eco Janek Balõnski
explained that the goal of Ringo system is to make the reuse of ready-to-eat food packaging widely available. “We are the first to launch a nationwide packaging return system that in time will reach retail chains, gas stations, restaurants, offices and homes. In recent years, Estonia has tried to implement several similar systems for the return of ready-to-eat food packaging, but these are targeted at smaller areas and are rather uncomfortable for customers. Ringo food packaging reuse system is planned to be expanded to the scale of the current deposit-subjected packaging system – only instead of empty bottles, it will deal with washable packaging for ready-to-eat food,” Balõnski explained.
In the first open round of the funding campaign, Ringo Eco raised 500,000 euros. Several leading Estonian private and venture investors such as Superangel
, Martin Villig
, Lauri Meidla
, Mõjufond of Heateo foundation
and six other private Estonian investors took part in the round. With the raised funds, Ringo will build packaging cleaning centres, expand the network of return points, and prepare to provide services to large customers.
Private investor Lauri Meidla decided to contribute to the project, since after carefully analysing the company’s plans, he sees great potential for reducing the number of disposable plastic packaging: “Ringo is creating a new infrastructure of national importance. We are investing in a convenient service and an experienced team that strives for development.”
Pirkko Valge, CEO of Heateo Foundation, which invested in the project through its Mõjufond fund, said that he sees the system created by Ringo as an opportunity to achieve greater impact on society: “By investing in Ringo, we are getting one step closer to making it more convenient for consumers to behave in a more environmentally friendly manner. Each of us can make informed choices to reduce our environmental impact. Ringo’s solution will make it easier for consumers to make such choices.”
This summer Ringo launched a pilot project in Ülemiste shopping mall in Tallinn. Today, several restaurants in Ülemiste, offer reusable Ringo packaging in addition to standard disposable packaging. When buying food, the consumer pays a 50-cent deposit and can receive the deposit back by scanning the QR code on the package with a smartphone before placing it in the return container.