Getting Into The “Loop” — Go Green Galloway

TerraCycle pepsico coca cola Mars Nestle Unilever Include USA Danone P&G UPS Loop Nature’s Path Clorox
Because everything in the recycling and solid waste world is in disarray right now, it’s time for new thinking and action. There is something called “Loop,” which turns some old-fashioned thought into a new world of actionable solutions. Think of the milkman and “Charles Chips” of days gone by and the way products were delivered right to your door in mostly reusable containers. Then also hear the words of Tom Szaky, CEO of Terracycle, the company putting forward the concept of the “Loop”: “Loop is about the future of consumption and one of the tenets is that garbage shouldn’t exist.” This idea is based on delivering products to homes and businesses in reusable containers, with a goal of having all packaging be reusable or recyclable by design. Some companies on board with this thinking are huge ones: Proctor and Gamble, Pepsico, Nestle, Unilever, Mars, Clorox, Coca Cola, Nature’s Path, Danone and many others, here and abroad. With the encouragement of Terracycle, an example of reuse would be for Tide detergent to come in a durable stainless steel container with a sturdy twist cap. Haagen-Dazs ice cream could be packaged in reusable double-walled stainless steel tubs designed to be kept cold. Similar products such as shampoo, hand soaps, mouthwash, creams, etc. can be handled this way. UPS and other delivery services would deliver a box of these supplies and pick up the empties to and from your home, their facility or another delivery scenario point. Concurrently, the “zero-waste” movement strives to take our wasteful ways down to a bare minimum. This is no easy task, given the current levels. Roughly, each American generates about 5 pounds of trash per day, of which only about 30% is either recycled or composted. Much of this material goes to landfills, where it produces large amounts of methane gas, a small fraction of which is captured or burned off. We have a long way to go and need a multi-pronged attack.   Source reduction efforts on both the production and consumer sides are critical to making substantial progress without resorting to landfilling and burning. Some of the same large corporations that are talking about “buying into” the Loop process are also still manufacturing products in containers that are not recyclable in most areas. On the recycling side of things, since other countries are now restricting the amount of our waste that they will buy; we need to co-ordinate exactly what materials can be universally marketed. The issue of contamination within the recycling stream must be straightened out through education and, if necessary, code enforcement actions. As in many cases involving business trends, they need strong signals from both government and consumers to react positively for the environment with new or less packaging, or the refillable container idea. “Loop” is scheduled to be rolled out in test markets in the Eastern United States and in parts of Europe right about now. Check out progress by searching for “TerraCycle Loop” online. Also, the zero-waste movement has many iterations and suggestions online. The Galloway Township Office of Sustainability has more information on the current state of recycling, ways to “precycle,” tips on source reduction of trash as well as deeper, nontraditional recycling. The office can be reached at gtnj.org or at 609-652-3700, ext. 209.