Internally at SwapBox the term WaaS has been going around for a few months now, so everyone knows the term well. The same goes if you have recently spoken to anyone involved with SwapBox. It’s our internal buzzword… But what do we mean when we say WaaS, an obvious abbreviation for Washing as a Service?
Let’s start with the most important
To truly understand the significance and importance of WaaS it is important to take a step back from the process of washing dishes. As you probably already know, throughout the world, in Europe, the Netherlands, and Belgium the regulation banning single-use packaging for food and drinks is causing a lot of panic industry-wide. This is to some extent very understandable, as a caterer how do you transition your entire operation to offer reusable coffee cups, cutlery, or food containers? As a global fast-food chain, how do you manage these enormous quantities of returned reusable packaging? But probably even more importantly, how do you guarantee that the packaging is cleaned properly at a large scale? These questions are just a minuscule part of the questions that all of these different brand owners have.
So why WaaS? For the sake of simplicity let’s focus on coffee cups for now. Firstly it is important to note that in the Netherlands we consume approximately 17,000,000 disposable coffee cups per day. Even when you assume that we can reduce the number of cups used per day by 50% as we can reuse coffee cups more often. This would mean that by the end of 2023, we will need to build an infrastructure to efficiently pick up, sort, clean, and quality control approximately and redistribute 8,500,000 reusable coffee cups per day. This requires a massive operational and logistical effort from all stakeholders involved. From our experience, you can fit about 8 000 reusable coffee cups (without lids) on a pallet, this means that in the best scenario, there will be a need to transport 1062 pallets in order to collect, transport, and wash all the cups.
A possible gateway to solving this enormous gap in demand and supply is the recent developments in the in-house washing of reusables. Companies like Hobart and Diversey are innovating their way out of this issue for locations that currently have overcapacity. This is a great solution for small to medium-sized companies that operate in a closed environment. However to manage these flows of reusable coffee cups at open locations and large sites it will be important to have efficient and automated cleaning of the reusable coffee cups. This is where our WaaS comes into play. By offering all types of brands the opportunity to join our network in the way they see fit. Some partners will want to receive a full service including packaging and tracking technology. However, we understand that the market is still finding the perfect solution for each use case and thus we offer WaaS, a cleaning service that adapts to each use case.
What sets us apart is that we are able to provide packaging registration from different systems such as 1D/2D codes but also RFID and NFC. From our experience in washing reusables, we are able to allow other service providers in the market to scale their solutions without having logistics and washing as their bottleneck.
So how do we do that?
We start with two pre-wash zones, but we added an extra one to accommodate longer turnaround times for packaging. Then, the reusables are taken through the dishwasher and rinsed with three dry zones. We're able to wash up to 125,000 reusable coffee cups or 30,000 reusable trays per day for our customers who use our packaging and tracking technology.
We also offer transport and washing services for glass and plastic packaging to help everyone transition to reusable packaging. Quality assurance is important to us, so we've built a clean room where we conduct ATP and allergen tests on each pallet of reusable packaging that comes out of the dishwasher.
We're pleased with our cooperation with Hobart and are already planning to expand with a second machine at this location