This week we interviewed Steef, founder of Click-Pax. A few years ago he traveled to the Philippines, where he encountered rivers full of plastic. The impact of this image, combined with his passion for plants and sustainability, led him to found Click-Pax 1 year ago.
1. Tell me a little bit about Click-Pax!
The main goal of Click-Pax’s is to disrupt the plants market, by providing sustainable packaging in order to ship plants. Over the years an increasing amount of unnecessary plastic is being used for shipping.. Our aim is to remove the excessive plastic from transport. We are focusing on our design, so we can ship our products with as little material as possible, while assuring our clients that their products arrive safely. We want to be consistent in material choices, including not using plastic, and using innovative ways of material such as waterproof packaging. We are highly aware that besides our sustainable efforts, companies need economic motivation as well. There are many companies that want to become more sustainable, but money remains an important motivation. That's why I think even if we can make it more efficient and better in terms of production, we can also take that aspect into account and make a step economically. We don't just look at sustainability. We also offer an economic advantage. Even if you look at a nursery, for example, that means producing very quickly. That is also my experience in the breeding field. As few staff as possible, because that is the largest cost item, and everything to optimize those processes. Growers are also very focused on product efficiency, everything is automated.
Suppose you combine efficiency, economics and sustainability, do you think you can make the highest impact?
Absolutely. You also compete with plastic packaging. If that is significantly lower and easily workable, companies simply choose that plastic packaging. They simply want to make the lowest costs on packaging. Because packaging is always a waste. It's just packaging. Single use. Companies never want to spend too much money on that. You can see that at a number of companies that do invest a little more time and energy, also in terms of appearance, we are going to engage them in a more sustainable way. But there are huge companies where they don’t really pay any attention to packaging and how to make that sustainable. If you really want to make an impact, you have to work together with the big boys, not only the smaller companies.
2. And if you had to describe your philosophy, what do you see as the mission and vision of Click-Pax?
We strive to make the packaging process of plants faster, more efficient and more sustainable. Our mission is to offer modular packaging systems where the use of plastic can be fully eliminated. We aim to speed up the complete packing process, by fitting as much as possible into our packages, in order for our end consumer, the grower, to make its production line more sustainable. By working closely and transparently, the right packaging is created for our customers. So our customer can produce quicker, easier results in less cardboard, saving spacing and eliminating the use of plastic.
3. Your slogan is “Thinking inside the box”. What does this mean and how did you come up with it?
I came across it in a book. You often hear the term thinking outside the box, however I think that as a company it is also important to look internally; what can I do to provide a better service for my customer. And that's what we want to calibrate. How do I do the things I do and how can I improve it? Before you start doing all new things externally, look internally first! Optimize internal processes before first and keep asking yourself: what am I doing right now? Are the things I do still realistic or can I change that? Often companies are very fixated on fixing things externally, instead of changing the internal processes. Thinking inside of the box is our slogan because that is what we do: we try to figure out what we can do to change the processes INSIDE the organization, can we make your production line even more sustainable with packaging? Before we look at external factors. Look at it in a different way.
Plants obviously need water. How do you ensure that they get that in your packaging, if you don't use plastic?
We have kraft paper, which is pressed in a different way because the structure is so dense that it stops water. Without coating or plastic layer. 100% kraft. They often put that at the bottom of the package, then they wrap it around the pot. It is slightly more expensive than normal kraft, but it’s more common to use in the plant sector. It is a very specific target audience. Other companies don't really look at that, because they simply don’t need waterproof packaging. That is why it is also less known in the market.
4. Could you tell us something about Click-Pax's expertise? What makes you one of a kind in the business?
We are experts in developing packages in a quick and sustainable way. We really look at what is the problem you run into, then we look closely, ‘do we have something for that or do we have to come up with something new for it?’. How can we use as little material as possible for this? Then we take all those standards and then we try to develop a product in three weeks. This is how find a suitable solution for customers very quickly.
5. You’ve probably heard of the term ‘greenwashing’. What do you think about this and what, in your opinion, can we do about it?
Find different sources. Google it. Read reviews. Don’t read 2 sources, find 8. Once you do, you will find a more realistic picture of an organization. And for an individual: find out which products you buy the most and invest in finding a company that produces that sustainably. I understand that it seems (and maybe even is) impossible to live 100% sustainably, so start with changing one thing at a time. Keep asking yourself, what am I doing, from what companies am I buying my products? What impact am I making? If you are more aware of what you do, it will become easier to live sustainably. Asking those kinds of questions is very important as a person. You will be drawn into the standard routine of the day. And ask yourself, am I still doing it right and what impact do I have on the people around me.