15 July 2020 by James Langley

Loop shopping platform launches in UK

Zero waste shopping platform Loop officially launched its UK pilot e-commerce programme today (15 July), with Tesco as its UK retail partner.

Through Loop, customers can order a variety of products including beverages, sauces, yogurt, shampoo, soaps, moisturiser, toothpaste, and washing detergent in durable refillable packaging.

Some of the products available via Loop in the UK

When ordering via the platform customers pay a deposit fee on each piece of packaging. This is fully refunded on its return.

Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of Loop and TerraCycle, said: “Loop was designed from the ground-up to reinvent the way we consume by learning from historic circular and sustainable models like the milkman from yesteryear, while honouring the convenience afforded by our single use consumption of today.

“Tesco is the perfect partner to bring Loop to retail in the UK due to its commitment to sustainability, in combating plastics waste, and its operational scale as the UK’s biggest grocery retailer.”

Announced at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in January 2019, Loop arose from a partnership between consumer product companies and international recycling firm TerraCycle (see letsrecycle.com story).

Process

Customers receive their products in Loop’s reusable shipping tote bags.

Infographic of how the Loop zero waste shopping platform works

After use, customers place the empty containers back into the bag and have a variety of options by which they can return the packaging. These include scheduling a pick-up from their home or dropping off the tote and empty packaging at one of the 2,500 DPD collection points across the UK.

Loop says it sorts and professionally cleans the packaging and tote bag to stringent health and safety standards so that each product may be safely refilled by the manufacturer.

The UK is the third market after Paris and New York to launch Loop, the company says, with further expansion into Canada, Japan and Australia scheduled for later in 2020 and early 2021.

Loop says Loop it has already engaged with multiple consumer product companies, including Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Coca-Cola and BrewDog.

Strategy

Tesco has partnered with Loop as a part of its 4R Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle strategy to understand how a shopping service using reusable packaging can work in the UK.

A Loop order of durable refillable products is delivered in the company’s exclusively designed reusable shipping tote bag

Tesco has supported the platform with its expertise in online shopping and network of suppliers and will be inviting customers to test the service, Loop says.

The companies say they will work together to make products in reusable packaging available at Tesco’s stores in 2021.

Dave Lewis, Tesco Group CEO, said: “Through our closed loop strategy of Remove, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, Tesco has a clear ambition to reduce packaging.

“Our ground-breaking partnership with Loop has been designed to test a new way of helping customers use less plastic and explore the exciting potential of reuse.

“We will learn what works at scale as we develop plans with Loop to introduce reusable packaging into our business.”

Warehousing and cleaning

Loop says it will debut a new warehousing and cleaning model with its move into the UK.

Hygiene services provider Ecolab Inc has installed its cleaning technologies in selected DHL warehouse operations. Ecolab will handle the cleaning and sanitisation operations of Loop’s durable containers and provide all necessary equipment, chemistry, standard operating procedures, staff and management.

DHL will support Loop’s warehousing, fulfilment and returned deposit scanning. It will process all cleaned containers for distribution back to consumer product manufacturers.

TerraCycle

TerraCycle is a waste management firm which specialises in recycling traditionally difficult to recycle materials.

The company operates across 21 countries, partnering with consumer product companies, retailers, cities and facilities.

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