Innovations For Better Living
800,000 kilogrammes of CO2 saved through recycling and counting
Extending the life of raw materials is critical to achieving global sustainability goals and large investments are made to make product packaging 100 % recyclable. But, Swedish startup Bower’s CEO Suwar Mert states that if the packaging does not have a value and thus is not recycled, those investments will not matter.
21 Sep 2021

Formerly known as PantaPå, Bower is a world-unique app increasing recycling by rewarding recycling at existing bins. 

All consumer packaging with a barcode can be scanned with the app to yield a deposit value, and the user can donate the collected money to charity or redeem it to a personal bank account. 

— Through a patented innovative geolocation technology, COO Berfin Mert shares, the deposit value is only retrieved when scanning in close proximity to the GPS coordinate of a recycling bin. 

Can you explain more about how the technology works?

— We have two patented technologies. The first is for the scanning technology in the app that allows users to scan barcodes of packages and receive reimbursements only when at predetermined physical locations. The second patented technology is our, so-called, pre-scanning feature, which allows users to not have to scan all their packages by the recycling bin. Instead, they can scan their packages from wherever they are and save them in the app until they bring the packages to the recycling bin. Once at the recycling bin, the app will ask the user to validate that they have brought the packages with them by scanning one of the pre-scanned packages. Once the validation is done, the rewards are retrieved in the app, Berfin Mert tells. 

How do you contribute to better living? 

— We make the — typically boring — act of recycling more fun and rewarding. Doing good shouldn’t have to be a burdensome chore, but rather something we get a boost from doing. That’s why we reward the act of recycling with discounts, cash, and kudos. 

So far, more than 275,000 users have recycled more than 17 million pieces of packaging, saving an estimated 0.8 million kilogrammes of carbon dioxide.

— Our two primary goals are to increase recycling and reduce littering. By increasing recycling, we save on the use of virgin raw material and reduce climate emissions. In total, our users have saved carbon dioxide corresponding to 250 million round-trips by train between Sweden’s major cities Stockholm and Gothenburg. By reducing littering, we lessen the burden on animals and nature, as well as decrease society’s cleaning costs. 

What’s the most common feedback you receive from the users?

— ”I want to be able to recycle and get rewarded for all my recycling!” Berfin Mert tells. Our product database includes most of the products sold in grocery stores, but not all. Therefore, we recently launched a feature for crowd-sourcing products, through which users can now add products that are missing from the database themselves. The response has been shockingly positive and users now add approximately 500 new products per day. 

Bower’s partners include brands such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and L’Oréal, and the recent launch in the Nordics will soon be followed by market entries into UK and other European markets.

What feedback do you get from your partner companies? 

— That we’re a hygiene factor in a climate where consumers are more aware than before as well as an opportunity to understand their consumers in a whole new way. By using Bower, they’re allowed to get closer to their consumers and get the opportunity to communicate with our them even after the purchase. Nowadays, we can be involved and encourage a certain behavior at the moment that the consumer makes the decision whether to recycle correctly or not. We want to be an active factor in ensuring that our packaging is recycled correctly. Thanks to our financial incentives, we can guide the consumer to make the right decision and thus ensure that what is distributed on the market is taken care of, even when the product is consumed, tells Madeleine Gedda, customer success manager.

— We look forward to introducing the Bower solution to the rest of the world, and make recycling a rewarding no-brainer worldwide. Our main focus at the moment is to plan for expansions into new markets. Product-wise, the app will become much more gamified. Users will, for instance, be able to compete against each other and follow their progress through leaderboards, Berfin Mert concludes.

This is #15 on our list with 25 Innovations for better living from Scandinavian MIND Issue 2

1. Here’s the first furniture brand to publish their climate footprint
2. Unique Bio2 textile can make a change in our polluted world
3. Patented technology can turn the eyewear industry circular
4. Filtration technology saves you from hidden pollution at home
5. This Swedish collective launches line with skincare for objects
6. Powder to liquid wash can change personal care as we know it
7. This household product line cleans with all-natural sugar surfactants
8. Spinnova’s textile fibre might be the world’s most groundbreaking
9. Here’s how AI can be used to create your ultimate personal scent
10. Design brand Verk takes local production one — big — step further
11. CAKE is here to challenge the status quo for motorbikes
12. This solar cell can be powered by ordinary indoor light
13. Revolutionary reusable sanitary protection is about to hit the market
14. A green version of the super-material graphene transforms the industry