Project Everest

Work Update

Business Model in a Bottle

Sapphire Loebler
Sapphire Loebler | Jan 24, 2018 | in Knowledge Base

From message in a bottle, to business model in a bottle…

It had been previously identified that glass bottles were not widely recycled across Cambodia, but were mixed in general waste that is ultimately disposed of in landfill. This is because local depots do not have customers willing to buy these from them. This seemed like wasted potential to ERS, as the volume of glass bottles in high tourist areas like Siem Reap seemed to present a significant opportunity for a recycling solution.

Research indicated that ~72% of Cambodia’s 136 million liters of beer is brewed domestically. The market is dominated by Cambodia Beer Limited (CBL), a subsidiary of The Heineken Group and Cambrew, a subsidiary of Carlsberg.  By engaging with these two companies and developing a working relationship, we are strategically aligned to maximize our scalability within the domestic market.  

ERS January was able to make meaningful contact with CBL and had preliminary meeting with the Manager of Corporate Affairs. The purpose of the meeting was to empathize with the needs of the brewery and discuss the possibility of ERS developing a glass bottle recycling solution that would be financially lucrative for both parties and drive sustainable practice.  

The meeting was incredibly positive and the company very open to working in partnership with ERS. CBL is currently working on developing a domestic sustainability policy which is community orientated and delivers a good news story to its consumers. CBL suggested ERS could be key to this endeavor.

Following the meeting an ideation exercise was undertaken and a decision was made by ERS to target the collection of ‘Anchor’ beer branded bottles. This brand is one of CBL’s value products and therefore is a good entry point into the market. Currently there is a <20% market return rate on these bottles; both CBL and ERS aspire for an 80% return rate to be achieved in the future.

We have envisioned a lean supply chain that focuses on 3 key processes; the collection of ‘Anchor’ beer bottles, the general cleaning of these bottles and the logistical transfer of bottles to the brewery headquarters.

Although we are unable to test our business model this month, ERS January is working hard to lay down solid foundations for the February team to work off. We are working to set up additional meetings with other breweries in the market, testing the volume of glass bottles to be collected from local hotels and restaurants and investigating how to manage a cleaning process. 

This is an exciting avenue to explore. We are keen to hear any of thoughts or ideas on how we could push this further.



edited on 24th January 2018, 09:01 by Sapphire Loebler

Andrew Vild Jul 2, 2018

Status label added: Work Update

Andrew Vild Jul 2, 2018

Moderation status changed: Removed

Amber Johnston Jul 5, 2018

Moderation status changed: Closed