Intended Reuse of Packaging

Reusable packaging is nothing new, it's in fact how humans have carried, shared and traded goods for centuries. There are various degrees of how packaging is reused but they mostly fit into the categories of Upcycled or Intended Reuse.

Upcycling basically means that the consumer says "I'm going to keep this jar and use it as a vase". This helps to minimize cost for the consumer ("Now I don't have to buy a vase"), is an outlet for creativity ("Now I can paint this jar too"), and keeps packaging out of the landfill or energy-intensive recycling ("Zero Waste Y'all!").

Then there's Intended Reuse. This can come in the form of a simple "Please Reuse This Package" statement. On this plastic #4 Pita bag for example.

Or, on this Annie Mac and Cheese box.

Usually, it is up to the customer/user to find a way to reuse the packaging. Like a glass jar as a vase.

Yogurt is a category that has long had reusable glass jars. Some locally focussed brands even take back their jars as glass can be both durable, and ensures low to no product spoilage.

These operations tend to have an in-house delivery and collection service.

When companies are faced with an expanding market and weight restrictions (cost focus), brands often make the decision to go from glass to plastic. It too is durable and protects against spoilage but it is also lightweight. The process of "light-weighting" is when a brand moves towards a product packaging solution that can have a reduced carbon footprint as compared to more traditional packaging such as glass.

Today's consumers are expressing concerns over such packaging, however. There are health concerns over the plastic and environmental concerns over the aluminum foil top that goes to landfill (very few municipalities accept this foil in recycling).

For a company to decide to remain with glass and take the overhead hit associated with weight, it seems necessary for them to then design in an Intended Reuse into the packaging. The packaging will serve as a reminder of the product, and perhaps even an incentive to purchase it.

I assume that this was part of the thought process behind Riviera's Yogurt "Petite Pot" jar design. On a personal note, the product is really good! The yogurt is definitely the favorite brand in our house.
Photo from

We would buy it all the time, but that would mean that A) the foil top would be landfilled B) they are amongst the most expensive brands in the category C) the jars would be recycled, which isn't a bad thing but is still quite resource intensive. However, we've gone with option D) buy the product periodically and also buy reusable lids from Petite Pots and use the containers for other things.

Riviera has intentionally designed their pots to be fitted with a reusable plastic lid. We now use these containers for everything from coffee grounds for camping, granola snacks for the kids, and even making our own yogurt for lunches. A crucial part of their brand story is the "homemade" goodness of their product, this intended reuse is an extension of that.

Now, why would a brand want their customers to buy the same category product in bulk and fill their packaging with it? Well, I don't think it was intentional, besides everyone in this house likes their product so much that we'll continue to buy it even though we are now running out of uses for their jars :)

Riviera has embraced the creative upcycling nature and longterm intended reuse of their jars by customers and showcased the creations on their website.

All artist photos can be found at
Riviera explains "Through this initiative, Riviera aims to bolster local talent, whose works have helped integrate the simple art of entertaining into our daily lives; asking artists to create a unique piece combining sophistication, simplicity and the small reusable jar. Local artists who, like us, express the beauty, quality, and authenticity of a home-made product."

Riviera has posted many examples of the artistic creations on their website. I've posted below a few that I think make the best use of and encourage the ongoing reuse of the jars.

In addition to their curated campaign, Riviera shows their customers love on Instagram by reposting upcycled examples. Check out their feed for more.

I think the lesson here is simple, the brand overcame the barrier of glass packaging by celebrating the reuse of it. Encouraging upcycling by showcasing and encouraging reuse through upselling a reusable lid is an intelligent way to appeal to their target customers.