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Saving the world, one lunchbox at a time

Sustainability is high on the agenda at BEYOND Expo 2023, with one of the many exhibitors looking at smart ways to reduce the catering industry’s dependence on disposable plastic.

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Sustainability is high on the agenda at BEYOND Expo 2023, with one of the many exhibitors looking at smart ways to reduce the catering industry’s dependence on disposable plastic.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:33 pm

The role of technology in improving the  health of the planet is a core component of this year’s BEYOND Expo 2023 conference, with hundreds of experts, business leaders and exhibitors gathering for a three-day sustainability summit that makes the environment the starting point of any innovation.

Among the exhibitors is Muuse, a Singapore-based start-up that provides reusable cups and lunchboxes to help cut down the use of disposable plastic at cafes and restaurants. 

The brand’s name is a contraction of “multiple use”,  but it certainly hopes that it could serve as a muse for diners and restaurateurs to start their own green journey. 

It uses a subscription model. Catering vendors who join Muuse’s monthly subscription receive reusable cups and food containers of different sizes, which are loaned out to customers when they buy their morning coffee or everyday lunch. 

“It’s a borrow [and] rental service, so users can go up to any restaurants or F&B for example, and they will have a 30-day period to return it to any of the return stations,” Bowie Miao, Muuse’s project manager told Macao News at the BEYOND Expo.

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Muuse encourages participating vendors to provide cash discounts or other incentives to customers to motivate them to switch from single-use packaging to reusable packaging.

Vendors are also given the backend data collected on the Muuse app for business analysis. 

“We’re able to provide them with different data, different impact matrices, so they can actually know how many users are actually using it and how it’s impacting their business,” Miao said. 

“And a bigger picture – how much waste [vendors] are actually saving by using our reusable packaging.” 

Coming together to help the environment

When asked why businesses would want to pay a subscription fee on top of their operation costs, Miao said it would be because of shared values. 

“I think a lot of vendors that have been working with us, the biggest motivation for them is to really be part of this whole sustainability route. They really want to be able to tell their customers that… they do see this as a huge impact for their own business and for everyone in the world,” Miao told Macao News. 

“And they want to be that starting point to show their own customers that hey, we fully support sustainability and we would like you to do that as well.” 

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BEYOND Expo 2023 Sustainability Muuse
Photo by Macao News/Almond Li

Muuse currently has more than 10,000 users worldwide. According to the data Muuse collected, Miao said the company helped save more than 32,000 single-use items in 2021 and 2022. 

That figure shot up to 33,000 within just the first five months of 2023 and he expects an even bigger impact to be made in the years to come.

The mission of BEYOND Expo 2023 is to “encourage exchanges of ideas” and “promote comprehensive industrial upgrading, development, and transformation, for a better global innovation ecology”.

The event is being held until 12 May at the Venetian Macao Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

—With reporting by Almond Li.


Macao News is an official Macao media partner of BEYOND Expo 2023.

 

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:33 pm

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