“The objective of Mercado Circular is to contribute to the conversion of the basic consumer basket to a circular form of consumption,” says the CEO.
IberoNews.- In today’s world, pollution and the lack of economic resources to cover the basic needs of the population are some of the most important problems. Therefore, solutions are necessary that help sustainability on a daily basis and the circular economy in Latin America is emerging as one of the keys to achieving this. In this context, Paolo Mazza, CEO of Mercado Circular, a Chilean company dedicated to developing and implementing refill solutions for consumer products through the reuse of packaging, talks about his work in Latin America and his new alliance with P&G in Mexico, which allowed him to install his first Ecocharging point. “The objective of Mercado Circular is to contribute to the conversion of the basic consumer basket into a circular form of consumption, moving from a linear value chain to a circular one, both in production and consumption,” says Mazza.
The axes of the Circular Market The idea of the Circular Market began as a spin-off of Empresas Demaria, in Chile. From there the project has grown and recently the company opened its first Ecocarga point in Mexico, which, for the first time, distributes personal care products with P&G. Savings and sustainability are the two main axes of the company. The Latin American economy The Mercado Circular company is very aware of the region’s economy and the need to carry affordable products with Ecocargo points. “Latin America in general has high levels of poverty and entering into a circular economy regime and eliminating all packaging materials allows us to deliver the same quality of products at a lower cost and reach more consumers with quality products.” “Savings are a fundamental axis within homes,” explains the CEO.
Only the “Social Panorama 2022” report of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), presented in November 2022, projected that for that year 201 million people in Latin America (32.1% of the population) lived in a situation of poverty. «By selling without packaging, two effects occur: one, that it does not generate waste to be removed, and the other is that, in the hygiene and personal care category, the packaging represents between 30 and 40% of the cost of the product . So by removing that packaging, there is a significant saving in the cost of the product, savings that can be transmitted in part to the consumer and in this way reach them with lower prices,” says the specialist.
Sustainability Mercado Circular focuses on one of the most worrying environmental issues: plastic pollution. It is estimated that Latin America and the Caribbean was responsible for 3.7 million tons of plastic pollution that entered the ocean in 2020, according to data from the UN Environment Program (UNEP). “In Latin America we generate an impressive amount of garbage and within it are plastic bottles. It is essential to be able to attack this axis, garbage is not just thrown away, it is in municipal landfills, it uses space, it is on the planet eternally. A form of reuse is something that positively impacts the planet because they are consuming and not generating waste and only use the product they need,” says Mazza.
The challenges for the business One of the main challenges for Mercado Circular is the regulations, since only in Mexico does it not prohibit the sale of products in bulk, in Chile this is limited. “The ban comes from old legislation from the 60s and 50s. And perhaps at that time there was not enough technology to guarantee the safety of the products, traceability, etc., the regulatory challenge has been important,” he details. the expert. Furthermore, another challenge is public adoption, since this concept represents a change in their routine. “Behind this project there is also a change in consumer habits, going and buying and throwing away is not the same as reminding you and bringing the containers back when you are going to repeat your purchase to refill. They have been incorporated for a little while. Today in Chile we have more than 130,000 clients affiliated with our recharge system,” says the CEO
The future of the Circular Market Now that the company has already achieved an important presence in Chile and is positioning itself in the Mexican market, Mercado Circular is looking for more. “We want to continue advancing in home care and incorporate new categories such as food, pet food and we are in conversations with some brands, looking for that appearance. Retail chains have also been interested in promoting this type of development. We want to scale these reuse systems in different categories and we are waiting for legislation this year and next to begin to open up the rest of Latin America,” concludes Mazza.