OPACK: Transforming The Way Malaysians Utilise Single-Use Plastic Packaging

In collaboration with Sunway iLabs at Sunway University, Disruptr featuring 5 startups through a series of articles with a focus on the LaunchX programme.

Last week, we featured HYPOLLECT, and if you missed the issue, click here to read our write-up. For our latest issue today, we are featuring OPACK, a smart returnable container logistics system for businesses to reduce single-use plastic packaging.

Sunway University alumni, Mei Xin had always wanted to be a social entrepreneur.

“Instead of climbing up the corporate ladder like what everyone does, I think starting up a social enterprise is my purpose and I know that it will bring me a sense of satisfaction to see the impact it will bring to the community.”

For me, it’s about getting passionate individuals with the same vision to be on board and create a better ‘FOODTURE’ together,” she quipped.

The founder and Chief Executive Officer of OPACK, a smart returnable container system that provides high quality reusable container, cleaning, and logistics service for businesses to reduce single-use plastic packaging is a Sunway University alumni.

“I graduated from Sunway University with a major in Global Supply Chain Management in March 2022. My major involves managing a network individuals, organisations, resources and technologies, starting from the delivery of raw materials, from the supplier to the manufacturer and final delivery to the end user,” she explained.

According to Mei Xin, her favourite subject in Sunway University, “Green Supply Chain Management,” one of her third-year electives, gave her a better understanding of the concepts of integrating sustainable environmental processes into business operations.

“One of my favourite lecturers was Dr Khor Kuan Siew, whom I saw as someone who truly immersed herself in the idea of sustainability and taught us how to live and act sustainably quite passionately,” she said.

Mei Xin highlighted that the subject and Dr Khor had sown the seeds of OPACK, and sprouted the business idea. But her “eureka” moment came during the first Movement Control Order (MCO).

 

“During that period, my family and I ordered a lot of takeaways as we rarely cooked at home, and after every meal, I saw a trash bin full of single-use plastic packaging.”

“Seeing this gave me a lot of guilt, even though I’m not an extreme environmentalist, because I realised how much plastic waste I could generate in just one day.”

“I started researching to see what solutions there were in reducing single-use plastic packaging around the world. Besides doing research and collecting data, I also challenged myself with the #OPACKwith100 challenge whereby I met 100 people to explain the concept of OPACK and obtain their feedback. Throughout the challenge, I successfully recruited the founding members of TEAM OPACK.”

TEAM OPACK consists of Nicole Chia Yi Hua as Co-Founder and Branding & Marketing Lead, Ryan Tan Sing Sze as Finance Lead; Ng Jia Shiang as Tech Lead; Yong Zhin Kyen as Market Research Lead, Loh Jing Yi as the UI/UX and Design Lead, and Jerene Tan Pooi Yee as Sustainability Operations.

TEAM OPACK’s mission is to transform the way Malaysians utilise single-use plastic packaging by providing returnable containers as a service.

The OPACK smart returnable container system provides rent and return food containers, and cleaning and logistics service.

How OPACK works to reduce single-use plastics

Mei Xin also shared that the LaunchX programme had helped TEAM OPACK nurture the fledgling idea.

“The LaunchX programme was the one that nurtured OPACK. I found all aspects of the programme to be extremely helpful. The programmes prepared by LaunchX included a speaker series that helped guide our path.”

“We had business mentors tailored specifically for each startup, as well as the resources and networks necessary to help us forge a way forward.”

“Another important aspect of programme is that the iLabs Foundry team really worked hard behind the scenes to ensure all start-ups are on the right track. Jia Qi, HuiYan and Karen all took an interest in our success.”

iLabs Foundry Director Karen Lau, Practice Fellow Yeong Hui Yan and Programme Specialist Lee Jia Qi

“My teammates and I act as mentors to each other. We are the ones who are constantly watering the plants of OPACK. We always bring different sorts of inspiration to each other, sparking new ideas. We learn from each other and grow together to ensure each OPACK customer can ‘Eat Good. Look Good. Feel Good.’ and ‘Everyone can have a better FOODTURE,” she said.

“As a Sunway University alumni, I am glad that I am able to contribute back to society, make a positive change and address the issue of single-use plastic packaging with OPACK.”

“We intend to start sharing the solution with the students on the Sunway campus, and then extend this to Sunway City Kuala Lumpur. We would love to see office buildings, residential areas, primary and secondary schools, and restaurants use OPACK and it will be amazing to see only returnable containers being used in the entire township,” she added.

OPACK aims to end single-use plastic packaging in Malaysia.

“Ultimately, OPACK wants to make it convenient to improve the lives of Malaysians by changing their ‘throwaway’ behaviours and create a sustainable future for generations to come.”

On her immediate plans, Mei Xin said that the team will look to make OPACK containers the first choice for all the college and university students, especially when they have events which require takeaways.

“OPACK will expand our offerings to include bowls, cups and cutlery, making ourselves an all-round solution provider for consumers’ meals with a greater impact on reducing single-use plastic.”

One of the start-ups that Mei Xin would love to connect with is PichaEats.

“We hope to have the opportunity to connect with them, because we share the same vision. OPACK can provide them with value-added services that not only benefit society, but also protect the environment by using OPACK containers,” she said.

On her future plans for OPACK, Mei Xin said, “After 5 years, we will expand our business and build an OFOOD platform – “one-stop solution for green catering services”, providing customers who hold catering events with a list of OPACK friendly merchants that covers different types of food and budgets range. With that, we can also encourage more restaurants joining us to build a better FOODTURE.

Safia Qureshi, the Founder and CEO of CLUBZERØ, inspires Mei Xin.

“Her vision of a zero-waste city by replacing the concept of a waste economy and turning it into a reuse economy is something I’m really looking forward to building here in Malaysia, and I’m glad that I have the opportunity to start contributing a little bit now through OPACK.”

To grow OPACK, Mei Xin is looking to attract investors.

“If the degree programme I studied was the seeds, the LaunchX programme was the fertilizer, and TEAM OPACK is the one constantly watering it. What do you think is missing for OPACK to thrive? Sunlight! We need our investors to be the ‘sun’ for OPACK to help us grow better. With your investment in OPACK, you are not just support for the business growth but also a better FOODTURE for the next generation to come.”

For fledgling entrepreneurs, Mei Xin has some experience to share.

“Trust yourself and be bold on what you want to achieve even if the world is against you. There would always be contrarian voices that causes self-doubt and question your own decisions.”

“Personally, I am still trying to balance between taking in advice and being bold to defend by point of views. My personal motto is ‘Life is about becoming a better version of yourself.’ So just believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable, don’t give up.

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