Tapauware, M’sian’s reusable and returnable food container startup

Be honest; How often do you order food in the MCO? If the answer is anything above 0, do you know how much plastic the food is wrapped in?

Daniel Teoh certainly is.

“It really made me feel like something had to change when I got a notification from my Grab app during their annual ‘Year of Desire’ that I’ve ordered 217 times in 2021 alone, ” he admitted to the Vulcan Post.

Perhaps not only Daniel is facing this problem. In 2020 alone, Malaysia used 148 tons of food packaging, or billions of containers.

Daniel knew he had to do something about this. He recalled his mother’s treasure trove of “precious, ageless Tupperware containers.” These containers were the pinnacle of his childhood (and many others). In fact, some of those containers are still in use today.

“Why can’t we do the same for today tapau culture?” Daniel wondered to himself.

Inspired, he began working on Tapauware.

Start a business

Daniel has had some experience working with green startups as a venture builder at Enviu, a nonprofit that builds on businesses that address social and environmental issues. schools worldwide.

Tapauware is one of these businesses, which he is building as an in-house entrepreneur with his colleagues, Jehan and Nazeera.

But before working with Enviu, Daniel had actually studied to be an engineer. However, he never did an internship, aside from a three-month internship.

Image credit: Tapauware

“I discovered early on that I had a business itch and decided to chart a path towards it as a student,” he claims. “I am also acutely aware of all the problems we face as I get older — inequality and pollution, among other things.”

Instead of just complaining, he decided he wanted to be part of the solution. He also referred to the adage: “Where there are challenges, there are opportunities”, which inspired him to tackle pressing problems through business solutions.

“If unconscious capitalism created as many problems as we do today, perhaps conscious diversity could be just what we need to put the world in order,” he said. “Business, after all, is just a tool.”

Tapau, where is it? And how?

To place an order with Tapauware, you first need to register as a user through its website. After paying the RM30 returnable deposit, you will become a full member.

From there, members can use their Tapauware user IDs to receive food in reusable containers — only with participating restaurant partners, of course.

Currently, these partners include Spargo Eats and Loop Foods.

Daniel explains: “Spargo Eats was the first merchant to believe in our vision, and that’s why we started with them. “They have a great vision for a sustainable food system and we are delighted to be partnering with their parent company, Loop Foods.”

Image credit: Tapauware

According to Daniel, Loop Foods will also launch other food brands that can offer Tapauware’s services.

With this in mind, it seems Daniel wants to partner with other companies that share Tapauware’s eco-friendly ethos. He agrees that things that align with Tapauware’s sustainability vision will likely be the first adopters, but the team really has the goal of working with all types of merchants.

“For example, we are trying a different loan model with merchants in Shah Alam, where users pay for the container when they buy their food to reduce the hassle of having to sign up in advance,” he explains. . “They will receive an instant refund upon return [them]. “

On top of that, Tapauware is also talking to schools and corporate cafeterias to adopt its containers so lunchtime can be a zero-waste.

Return to Sender

Personally, Tapauware sounds like a great idea. However, one thing that makes me not want to use it is the back part.

Currently, users have 14 days to return packages to Tapauware collection points. Customers who do not return their borrowed crates within that period will forfeit their RM30 deposit and will have to re-register to become a user.

While this is a fairly broad timeframe, I find it a bit complicated to get to the point of purchase.

In my opinion, having to travel in the first place undermines the purpose of getting food, because in the first place I wanted to drive to a restaurant with my own container and never have to return it.

Image credit: Tapauware

To this, Daniel shares that a significant portion of Tapauware’s user base are environmentally conscious individuals who report having trouble remembering to bring their own containers with them when taking it out.

“It also requires them to plan their purchases in advance if they want to make sure they don’t use single-use packaging, affecting the spontaneity they could enjoy if they didn’t. worry about waste,” he added.

He believes that offering Tapauware will solve this problem.

In any case, Daniel says that Tapauware is looking at offering a home pick-up service in the future, which could really get me started using it.

Takeaway of the future

Like most local startups, Tapauware is currently only present in the Klang Valley. It is currently still in beta and is learning what merchants need to actually adopt reusable products.

This will take time, as in the F&B industry, merchants have diverse needs as they all have their own SOPs, business models, foods and attitudes towards sustainability.

Daniel added: “We envision eventually working with big players like Grab and foodpanda. “If someone from Grab, foodpanda or even Beepit is reading this, we would love to run a smaller pilot with you.”

But before that, Tapauware first wanted to crack the operating model of an efficient system before expanding their work into other areas. Thankfully, as a venture builder, Daniel worked with GIZ, the German Agency for International Cooperation.

According to Daniel, GIZ and Enviu are working with local government agencies such as the Malaysian Green Technology Center to launch the Collaborative Action to Stop Single-Use Plastics in Southeast Asia (CAP SEA).

Image credit: Tapauware

“Tapauware is the result of working towards the goals of this project,” says Daniel. “As part of this, we are working closely with Shah Alam City Council to determine what is needed for a city to become plastic-free.”

Although a city without plastic makes for a great vision, it is certainly a tall order. Daniel realizes this, of course.

“To reach mainstream users, we needed to appeal more to people’s environmentally conscious sensitivities,” he said.

He continued, “When we are in an eco-conscious bubble, it is sometimes difficult to remember that a large portion of the Malaysian population still does not understand the need to switch from single use, whether it’s because of the environment or reality. reason. “

I don’t know about you, but I’ll think twice the next time I order delivery.

  • Learn more about Tapauware here.
  • Read the other articles we have written here.

Featured image credit: Tapauware

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