Working towards a sustainable future in supermarket tech

Amelia Kirby

Our goal at Tiliter is to be able to demonstrate to our retail customers that we are a fully sustainable business. As with many tech companies, we are working towards overcoming hurdles in manufacturing, packaging and we’re excited about what businesses can do already to make a difference

Here’s what happening on the green front here, and across retail tech.

Sustainable practices in manufacturing processes

We manufacture and ship hardware that needs to arrive in pristine condition. Our operations and hardware teams make efforts to reduce plastic packaging through the supply chain but there are still barriers to adoption. Hardware manufacturers like us do have eco-foam options which are currently cost prohibitive. But as the pressure mounts for businesses to step away from non-recyclable plastics, we anticipate an increase in options.

Something that every business can do today is monitor their plastic and packaging usage. If businesses track their usage, it will be easier to monitor reduction and targets and drive future sustainability initiatives.

Donating used technology is also a great option to keep waste out of landfill and there are a number of e-waste recycling initiatives.

The team at Tiliter is working towards ISO14001 to demonstrate our commitment to improving environmental performance and put systems in place to reduce the impact on the environment.

For our European customers supported through our German office, Tiliter meets WEEE regulations, ensuring parts get recycled, and we send minimal electronic waste into landfill.

Offer your customers opportunities to be more sustainable

Our retail technology enables supermarkets to use less plastic by recognising fresh produce without barcodes. So there’s no need for any wrapping or packaging. Supermarkets in Europe are already leading the world with mandates regarding the use of plastic packaging for fruit and veg, and Australia is not far behind. With only 81% of plastic waste ending up in landfill in Australia in 2020 supporting supermarkets looking to make this shift to a more planet-friendly model is something we’re passionate about.

Woolworths Australia have introduced compostable fruit and vegetable bags in their South Australia stores this April – a huge step towards environmental protection. This step will divert around 70 tonnes of plastic from landfill.  

Tiliter vision powered AI Scales currently support the Woolworths Scan&Go program, automatically identifying fruit and veg in Woolworths stores across Australia. Using Tiliter tech to detect if a bag is used and apply tare weight only when needed, retailers can adopt sustainable bag options, with the added bonus of saving costs on bag taring.  

Join the circular economy  

According to CSIRO, a circular economy is “about business models and practices that ensure sustainable materials management. (It) reduces primary material requirements, optimises processes and products for lower material and waste intensity (and) allows value adding to materials to occur multiple times across their life cycle.”

When a circular economy works, it keeps natural resources in circulation, reduces waste and provides increased employment and economic opportunities.

Creating a circular economy is not a one-off process. It requires policies to support and enable businesses across industries to respond at scale with innovation, technology and engineering practices.  

How can you start your sustainability journey?

There are plenty of initiatives that retailers can get involved in today.

The National Plastics plan  is a high-level national Australian plan to reduce plastic waste. In 2021, the NSW Government passed the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021. This includes a ban on single-use plastics, addresses plastic waste management and includes the phase-out of plastics in 2022.

Your business may already be aware of The Packaging Ordinate APCO — it’s mandatory for Aussie companies with revenue of over $5M and sets out the measures required to be a sustainable business. For businesses still working towards the goal, the ordinate requires that you report how much packaging you are introducing into the system each year, which is where your data collection and analysis comes in.

For fellow Sydney-based businesses, Bye-Bye plastic is a council service to reduce plastic waste. It offers resources and pledges to reduce plastic for businesses or shoppers.  

B Corp is a global organisation that enables businesses to verify their social and environmental performance. There are about 350 B corp certified organisations in Australia across a number of industries. While the end-to-end process is quite long, they offer a ‘pending’ program for start-ups and small businesses to demonstrate a commitment to measuring and managing social and environmental performance.

The future is green

We’re working towards a greener future at Tiliter, while supporting our customers deliver on their initiatives to reduce plastic or choose more sustainable options. We will continue to look at options for reducing packaging of goods that we send to you, including multi-use packaging options and more eco-friendly materials, plus bulk shipping. We hope we’ve inspired you to take a look at your own sustainability practices as we all play our part looking after our the earth.

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Amelia is Tiliter’s wordsmith. She has a background in tech writing, comms and content in a broad range of industries and is on a mission to banish jargon.

Amelia is Tiliter’s wordsmith. She has a background in tech writing, comms and content in a broad range of industries and is on a mission to banish jargon.

Amelia Kirby

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