What was your background before founding Good Filling?
Petros Palandjian - I grew up in Massachusetts in the northeast United States but moved south to study computer science and economics in North Carolina. After I graduated, I started out in private equity, but I quickly realised that I wanted to leverage my skills and switch to something linked to sustainability.
What is your business, and what does it do?
Petros Palandjian - There was no business doing exactly what I felt was necessary to promote the circular economy, so I decided to start my own! I started by developing a bottle exchange service, but it was too time-intensive to rinse and sanitise returned bottles to the required standard. My idea was, instead, to enable consumers to reuse the packaging they already have. That led to the birth of Good Filling!
Good Filling designs and provides vending machines that work like soda machines. Consumers bring their own containers and refill them with a product of their choice – whether that is surface cleaner, shampoo, or many other household staples. It’s quick, clean, and cost-effective, making it easier for families to keep plastic packaging out of the waste stream.
What made you choose packaging as a career, and what excites you about the sector?
Petros Palandjian - Growing up in a large family, I was very aware of the amount of waste that households can generate. Learning about issues around recyclability and reusability was a formative experience for me, so I always made an effort to reduce the amount of waste I produced personally, which led to the founding of Good Filling.
In that sense, I’ve always been interested in packaging. But I’ve also always loved labels, and the way they help brands express themselves through the different technologies and materials available.
What are the packaging challenges that you want to overcome?
Petros Palandjian - Solving the puzzle of reusability. The feeling you get when you open a pack is great, but it’s gone quickly. But in many cases, that pack can persist in the environment for over 100 years. Reusing packaging is the only solution here.
What is unique in your approach to packaging?
Petros Palandjian - That we don’t use any! We adopt a bring your own mentality – BYO. Consumers bring their empty packaging to the machine and refill it. We create a closed loop on the consumer side, but also on the supplier side, too.
What do you see as the future of packaging?
Petros Palandjian - Reusable packaging. Society needs packaging, but that packaging needs to stay in use for its lifetime.
What are you most proud of in your career so far?
Petros Palandjian - Founding a company that has the environmental impact that Good Filling does. It’s impactful because it helps to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic, and in turn, our CO2 emissions.
What piece of advice would you share with young professionals out there looking to make an impact in packaging?
Petros Palandjian - Be mindful of materials. It is natural to want to serve market trends and be competitive, but sustainability needs to be taken into account. Think about the impact material usage has and consider its whole journey, from manufacturing to end-of-life.
What does it mean to you to be selected as a Future Leader?
Petros Palandjian - I’m very excited! It’s cool to have the opportunity to meet with brands. I’m curious to meet with big brands who produce large volumes of packaging, and to talk about how a solution like ours could help them meet their environmental goals. Many countries in Europe are ahead of the US in terms of sustainability, so I look forward to networking with people who can inspire me!