A partnership between some of the largest consumer product companies, along with international recycling firm TerraCycle, today (24 January) unveiled a global shopping system and reuse model, called Loop.
Announced at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Loop will allow consumers to ‘responsibly’ consume products in refillable packaging which is collected, cleaned, and reused, TerraCycle said.
According to TerraCycle, the ‘first-of-its-kind’ initiative is designed to reduce reliance on single-use packaging by offering a convenient and circular solution to consumers.
Pilot schemes are scheduled to launch in the spring in France and the north-eastern United States. And, the UK can expect to see a pilot of Loop launched in September with retailer Tesco, logistics firm UPS and resource management firm Suez.
The idea for Loop was developed by TerraCycle working with consumer product companies Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars Petcare, The Clorox Company, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola European Partners, Mondelēz International, Danone, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lesieur, BIC, Beiersdorf, RB, People Against Dirty, Nature’s Path, Thousand Fell, Greenhouse, Grilliance, Burlap & Barrel Single Origin Spices, Reinberger Nut Butter, CoZie and Preserve.
“Through Loop, consumers can now responsibly consume products in specially-designed durable, reusable or fully recyclable packaging made from materials like alloys, glass and engineered plastics. When a consumer returns the packaging, it is refilled, or the content is reused or recycled through groundbreaking technology.”Tom Szaky
Tom Szaky, chief executive of TerraCycle, explained: “Through Loop, consumers can now responsibly consume products in specially-designed durable, reusable or fully recyclable packaging made from materials like alloys, glass and engineered plastics. When a consumer returns the packaging, it is refilled, or the content is reused or recycled through groundbreaking technology.”
A variety of products will be available through Loop, ranging from food jars and bottles, through to deodorant and body lotion.
Speaking to letsrecycle.com, TerraCycle’s Mr Szaky, said: “The key for us is affordability because the consumer doesn’t own the package so effectively doesn’t have to pay for it, just their use.
“The convenience to us is very important so when the package is empty it doesn’t need any cleaning, nothing, they [the consumer] can simply chuck it back in to the bins they received it in and then it gets picked up. So it’s effectively treated like garbage.”
According to Terracycle, Loop will come in three models. The first is where consumers shop through the Loop website for products and Loop arranges the delivery and pick-up. The second integrated model is that products are ordered through a partner retailer’s website, delivered in the usual way and the same driver picks up the empty container. And, the third model is integrated in store, where the consumer buys the products in store and drops off empty containers.
Mr Szaky said at least one in-store model will be live by the end of this year as a demonstration.
In terms of tracking the material, Mr Szaky explained: “In Loop, because it’s a closed system, we know exactly how many bottles have been made, exactly how many are inventory, exactly how many are with the consumer so it’s very easy to track it.”
And, this is helped by adding a deposit to the package. “As a consumer, you do have to put a deposit on the packaging, which makes you financially motivated to also behave properly,” Mr Szaky said.
“So on every package you access you have to pay a use fee, which is the same price effectively as the product would normally cost in the store, which is for the contents or your consumption, and then you put a deposit on the package equal to the value of the package.”
“They get it back in full and all wear and tear is the responsibility of the manufacturer.”
Commenting on the launch of Loop, David Palmer-Jones, chief executive of Suez, said: “The Loop is a positive new addition to the wider tool kit society can use to achieve a circular economy. Systems like this, and other collection systems offered by Terracycle to deal with difficult-to-recycle materials, help to initiate new services; engage the public in recycling and can be the first stepping stone towards larger scale, industrialised solutions.”
How Loop works:
- SHOP: Consumers will go to the Loop websites, www.loopstore.com, www.maboutiqueloop.fr or Loop partner retailer’s websites and shop for brands redesigned to be packaging waste-free.
- RECEIVE: Consumers receive their durable products in Loop’s ‘state-of-the-art’ shipping tote that reduces the need for single-use shipping materials like cardboard boxes.
- ENJOY: Consumers experience “elegance and convenience” while eliminating the idea of throw-away packaging waste.
- PICK-UP: There is no need to clean and dispose of the package; as consumers finish their products, they place the empty package into one of their Loop Totes. Loop will pick-up directly from their home.
- CLEAN: Loop’s team of scientists has developed custom cleaning technologies so that each product may be safely reused.
- REFILL, RECYCLE OR REUSE: Loop replenishes products as needed and returns the refilled shipping totes to the consumer. If there is recoverable used product such as diapers, pads, razors or brush parts, they will be recovered to be reused or recycled.
TerraCycle is a waste management firm which specialises in recycling traditionally difficult to recycle materials. The company operates nationally across 21 countries, partnering with consumer product companies, retailers, cities and facilities.