Posts with term Loblaws X

Earth911 Podcast: Loop’s Circular Shopping Expands to Canada

Earth911 Podcast Innovator Interview As shopping from home grows, packaging waste is piling up. Loop offers an alternative: a delivery service for food and home goods that picks up used product packaging, then cleans and reuses it to eliminate trash. Earth911 talks with Heather Crawford, global vice president of marketing and e-commerce at Loop, about the company’s expansion into Canada. Loop now offers service in the U.S., U.K., and France. Its Loop Tote bag is dropped off and picked up by FedEx, and it will soon offer in-store Tote exchanges at Kroger, Walgreens, and Canada’s Loblaws locations. Heather Crawford, vice president of marketing and ecommerce at Loop Crawford shares how Loop, which was launched by specialty recycling company TerraCycle, designs reusable packaging that can be repeatedly cleaned and refilled with products in order to reduce post-consumer waste. We also discuss the sustainability of online shopping and how, at scale, it can be more efficient than traditional bricks-and-mortar retail shopping. Loop is partnering with several grocery and drugstore chains to introduce in-store Tote pick-up and drop-off services. Both at-home and retail services are essential to reaching consumers who want to remove single-use packaging from their shopping list. Loop currently offers hundreds of product options and is expanding its partnerships with food and personal care brands to introduce more reusable product packaging. Take a few minutes to learn more at the U.S. Loop storeCanadian storeU.K. store, or the French store.

A big test of reusable packaging for groceries comes to Canada

Loop launches online supermarket in partnership with Loblaws and big food brands Emily ChungAlice HoptonTashauna Reid

  Loop, an online store selling well-known food brands in reusable, returnable containers, has partnered with Loblaws to put sustainably packaged groceries to the test in Canada. 2:07     An online store has launched in Ontario selling groceries and household items from Loblaws in containers it will take back and refill — a test of whether Canadian consumers are ready to change their habits. Industry-watchers say it is breaking ground for reusable packaging. The store, called Loop, launched in Canada on Feb. 1, in partnership with supermarket giant Loblaws, and offers items like milk, oats, ice cream and toothpaste for delivery in most of Ontario. Loop is already operating in the continental U.S., the U.K and France. Included so far are some products from well-known brands such as PC sauces and oils, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Heinz ketchup, Chipits chocolate chips and Ocean Spray cranberries. "The goal is really validating that this is something the Canadian public is interested in," said Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of Loop and its parent company TerraCycle. Unlike existing small no-waste retailers, they want to offer "your favourite product at your favourite retailer in a reusable and convenient manner." The involvement of a huge retailer makes the launch notable in terms of scale and who it will reach, said Tima Bansal, Canada Research Chair in business sustainability at Western University in London, Ont. "I think it's at the scale that's needed to create the change in the community in Canada more generally," she said.

How it works for customers

Szaky likens Loop to the reusable bottle system for beer in Canada "but expanding it to any product that wants to play in the [North American] ecosystem." The ultimate goal, he said, is to give people a greener way to consume that limits the amount of mining and farming needed to produce packaging. "This allows us to greatly reduce the need to extract new materials, which is the biggest drain on our environment.   Nestle's stainless steel Häagan Dazs ice cream container designed for use with Loop cost a million dollars to develop, said Loop's founder. Customers have to pay a $5 deposit on the reusable container. (Chris Crane/TerraCycle/The Associated Press) Loopstore.ca currently lists just 98 products, although many are sold out or "coming soon." As with other online grocery stores, customers fill their virtual shopping cart, but in addition to the cost of the item itself, they pay a deposit for its container. That can range from 50 cents for glass President's Choice salsa jars like the ones that are normally at the supermarket to $5 for a stainless steel Häagen-Dazs ice cream tub. The items are delivered to a customer's home by courier FedEx for a $25 fee, although the fee is waived for orders over $50. Once you've spooned out all the salsa or ice cream or squeezed out all the toothpaste, the container doesn't go in the recycling bin. Instead, you toss them into the tote bag they came in — even if they're dented or damaged — and they get picked up.   When customers have emptied the reusable containers, they are supposed to put them back in the Loop tote for pick up, cleaning and refilling. (Kraft Heinz Canada/The Canadian Press) "What we're trying to achieve with Loop ... is similar to your recycling bin," Szaky said. "Your recycling bin doesn't care where you bought the package you're putting into it. It just cares that it is recyclable. And that's incredibly convenient." In the future, Loop hopes to also sell products in reusable packaging in their own section or aisle in the supermarket to "make reuse as easy as absolutely possible," Szaky said. And he expects customers will also be able to return the containers to participating stores.

How it works for manufacturers, retailers

It's Loop's job to manage the waste, Szaky said. All the used containers are sent to a facility where they get sorted, cleaned, and sent back to manufacturers who refill them. Manufacturers are required to design packaging that can be expected to survive being filled and refilled at least 10 times. "And if it one day breaks … then the materials have to be recyclable back into that same package," Szaky said.   Burger King plans to launch reusable packaging through Loop later this year, as does Tim Hortons. (Burger King/REUTERS) He noted that making the switch to reusable packaging isn't easy for manufacturers, who have to make big adjustments to their entire production process. "It's creating a blend of brand new supply chain on a product-by-product, country-by-country basis. So it is a behemoth task." For example, for Nestlé, developing a new Häagen-Dazs ice cream tub was "about a million dollar project — just that one package," Szaky said. But he added that 15 of the world's largest retailers and 100 major consumer product companies have signed up, and Nestlé has even invested in Loop. "The world's biggest organizations … are taking it very seriously," he said.   In France, where Loop launched earlier, products are also available in stores. For Canada, that is expected to come later. (Loop) In Canada, Loblaws is currently Loop's exclusive partner, but Tim Hortons and Burger King are expected to join later this year. For now, Szaky said, they want to make sure the packaging and products are what people want before scaling up to other retailers and provinces.

'The scale that's needed to create the change'

While a handful of small, zero-waste grocery stores have opened up across the country in recent years, up until now there haven't been any reusable packaging initiatives like this involving large grocery chains and food manufacturers. What's innovative with Loop, said Bansal, is that the would-be waste is moving back through the industrial production cycle. "That's really new. And at that scale, I think we can start to see changes in consumer behaviour." However, she noted there will be challenges, as consumers need to pay the deposits and form new habits. And she thinks change will come slowly. But eventually, she predicts consumers will start to demand reusable packaging. "I think what makes me really excited about the Loblaw-Loop partnership is that it's coming from industry," she added. "I have more hope with this than if it were a government-imposed solution." Laura Yates, a plastics campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, also thinks Loop is a positive development. "It's exactly the type of reuse and refill model that we need," she said. "It's really wonderful that big-name companies that have the resources to invest in developing this type of product delivery system are doing so." She added that once the system is proven, she thinks smaller companies will be able to get funding to develop similar systems. However, she said ultimately, reusable containers can't just be optional for those products. "If they truly want to commit and be a part of moving forward to real solutions, these options need to replace their product lines that are in single use containers and packaging.”

Tim Hortons Announces Reusable, Returnable Coffee Cups

Tim Hortons is a big deal in Canada. Almost every Canadian will tell you what their go-to order is – a double-double, a French Vanilla Cappuccino, a box of Timbits. (As a Canadian myself, I don't even know what these would be called anywhere else – "doughnut holes," perhaps?)

I'm not a huge fan of the coffee myself, preferring to seek out small, independently-owned, fair-trade coffee shops when I need caffeine on the go, but I am a big fan of Tim Hortons latest announcement that they're joining forces with TerraCycle's zero-waste food packaging initiative, Loop, to offer reusable coffee cups in the near future.

TerraCycle’s Loop platform hits milestone reach across 48 states

TerraCycle’s reuse platform Loop is now available online in every ZIP code in the 48 contiguous states, a major milestone after the program first launched in 2019. Kroger and Loblaw are partners of the platform, among other retailers, and a TerraCylce representative recently told Store Brands that it would be developing a reusable container for select private brands to buy at those physical stores in 2021. The Loop program began in the Northeastern United States and Paris, France, and entered the United Kingdom in July, working with more than 80 brands and 400 products globally. More than 100,000 people have signed up for the service. Loop enables shoppers to buy brands in a durable, reusable package. It’s a circular system, designed to end single-use packaging. For example, a shopper can buy a silver tin for Haagen-Dazs ice cream that was developed with Loop from a retailer like Kroger or Walgreens, which gets shipped by Loop (or picked up at the store) and then shopper returns the container when done through Loop’s shipping system to get it refilled. The company likens it to the days of the milkman.

Retailers Design the In-Store Experience for Reusable Packaging

Tom Szaky, the chief executive and founder of TerraCycle, imagines a world where shoppers take their trash with them to the grocery store. In his vision, people purchase products like ice cream and deodorant in reusable containers. At the cashier, they pay an additional cost: a refundable packaging deposit. They return empty containers to the store, which collects them for cleaning and reuse. The consumer gets each deposit back and buys another tub of ice cream or stick of deodorant from the shelf. The cycle starts again. Soon Mr. Szaky is going to find out if his idea can work in the real world. Retailers including Kroger Co. next year plan to make space in stores for Loop, TerraCycle’s refillable packaging platform. Tesco PLC in the U.K. and Carrefour SA in France also are planning to install in-store Loop “corners”—areas of a store designed for products packaged in Loop’s containers—in the next 12 months. Loblaws Inc. in Canada and Woolworths Group Ltd. in Australia will bring Loop stations to stores sometime in 2022, a Loop representative said. Aeon Co., Japan’s largest supermarket group, plans to introduce Loop corners to 16 stores in the greater Tokyo area next March. “We want people to come in and fall in love with these really cute, beautiful packages, understand the message and get excited about it,” said Satoshi Morikiyo, general manager of  convenience goods at Aeon. “Shopping trips are not necessarily something people look forward to, but this is a cool experience that offers something of a discovery—something new and fun.”

3 Reusable Packaging Perspectives from Popular Brands

Executives from The Clorox Co., Nestlé and entrepreneur Soapply share insights into the sustainability and cleanliness of reusable packages for products sold through Loop’s shopping platform, especially in a post-pandemic world. Last year, recycling/upcycling firm TerraCycle launched Loop, a shopping platform for zero-waste-packaging products, with the support of some of the world’s biggest brands (see “Loop and big brands boldly reinvent waste-free packaging.”) Together, the eco-commerce provider and the brands have learned that there is indeed a market of consumers who will by Crest mouthwash, Tide laundry detergent, and myriad other products from Loop’s online store — then return their empty packages to be cleaned, refilled, and reused. Since its early 2019 introduction, Loop’s business has grown from a direct-to-your-doorstep model with regional service to testing of mass-market retail partnerships to imminent national coverage. Retail partners include Kroger and Walgreens in the US market, Canada’s Loblaws, and the U.K.-based Tesco chain. Germany and Japan are on the horizon, too.

Zero-Waste Delivery Service Loop Announces Coast-to-Coast, International Expansion

Loop, the zero-waste, refillable packaging delivery service, has announced that it is expanding nationally in the US this summer and coming soon to the UK, Canada, Japan, and Australia. Terracycle, which runs the service, has partnered with Kroger and Walgreens in the US, Loblaw in Canada, Tesco in the UK, and Carrefour in France. Terracycle piloted the Loop service in New York and Paris and later expanded to a few regions along the US east coast. Consumers order products from over 200 brands, including products from major international consumer goods companies such as Unilever, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble. Customers place orders online and receive it in a reusable Loop tote, with all of the products within coming in refillable packaging. Editorial photograph Goods range from pantry items, perishables, home goods, and personal care products. Once finished, users request a pickup for empties, which is then picked up. Your empty containers go back to Terracycle, where they are then cleaned, sanitized, and refilled for the next customer. The announcement comes as consumers flock to grocery delivery services from companies such as Instacart and Amazon over fears of contracting COVID-19 and being in the vicinity of possibly contagious shoppers in-store. While delivery services provide relief from possible contact with coronavirus, Loop is the only service that offers zero-waste packaging. Loop is currently inviting interested consumers to sign up on their waiting list.

How Safe is Reusable Packaging During COVID-19?

Last year, Loop launched its revolutionary shopping platform anchored by reusable packaging. Here, Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle and the driving force behind Loop, provides an update on the platform and how it’s faring in light of COVID-19. Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle, Inc., and founder of Loop Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle, Inc., and founder of Loop Packaging World: What progress have you seen with Loop since it launched last year in New York and in Paris? Tom Szaky: As you know, in May [2019], we launched in Paris with Carrefour and in the Northeast of the U.S. with Kroger and Walgreens. Those tests have gone incredibly well. The punchline is that all the retailers we’re working with are now working on going in-store. Carrefour will be the first retailer to put Loop in-store, which means really the retailer sells it [products in reusable packaging] in their physical stores, and there will be collection bins for the packaging at the store. Carrefour is going into stores starting in July, then 10 more stores in September, and then a much larger number at the end of the year. Kroger will be going in all Portland stores around September/October, and then more stores will follow. Walgreens too is making plans to go in-store in the Northeast. That has been a huge thing. Brands have been joining consistently and continue to join aggressively. We’re seeing really good rates of brands joining—on average, a brand every two days. We are also on track to be launching in Canada with Loblaw, in the U.K. with Tesco, with AEON in Japan, and with Woolworths in Australia, all in the next 12 months. I’d say it’s just off to the races, and we’re thrilled so far. It’s continuing, and it’s accelerating, even within the context of COVID. Actually, March will be the best-performing month to date so far. What have you learned through the pilot? The two biggest lessons by far are related to the three major stakeholders—manufacturers, retailers, and consumers—and then Loop as a fourth stakeholder. And what I’ve learned is that while they all see the benefits of reuse, they really want to try to make it as similar to disposability as possible. And noting that many other reuse models diverge from the concept of disposability, what has really resonated for brands is that they simply fill packages—the packages just happen to be durable versus disposable. Retailers just order the packaging in pallets and put it on their shelf, which is a very similar experience versus things that may be more disruptive in reusables, like refill stations. Then consumers just get to buy products and throw the packaging away—they just happen to be throwing it into a reuse bin, per se. That’s one thing: The desire of all stakeholders to have the convenience of disposable models is very, very high. Another key thing is we found that  shifting from disposability to reusability does bring a major sustainability benefit, but what has been interesting to learn is that what consumers like even more is how beautiful the packages have become, and that packaging beauty has also been a very big driver we didn’t expect before. I’m surprised to hear you say that March will be your biggest month so far, given that companies like Starbucks are banning reusable cups and some retail stores are banning reusable bags because of a fear of contamination with the virus. How do you think Loop has continued to thrive? It’s a very interesting question. I’ll give you the answer in two ways, if I may. The first is that you mentioned Starbucks, and yes, Starbucks has famously stopped accepting reusable coffee cups, and I think frankly, they made absolutely the right decision. And they did that I think because of three main things that are very different in an informal reuse system where a consumer is giving a cup to a barista versus a professional reuse system. In the Starbucks example, there are three things that are very different. One is there’s no dwell time. I could be an infected person giving my cup to a barista, and I’m giving it to them right away. There’s not a single second of dwell time. And there are many reports that show the virus can last maybe up to three days on the surface... . The second is that the barista does not have proper health and safety support, training equipment, or anything like that. They’re just a normal person in normal clothes. And then third, they’re not even cleaning the cup at all. So there’s no cleaning, no health and safety protocol, and no dwell time. In the professional reuse system, whether that’s Loop or whether that’s a Canadian beer [bottle] or Germany with beverage [bottles], which are all examples of very big national reuse systems, all three of those things are at play. There’s strong dwell time. We typically will take about a month before the package is clean. Two, there are major health and safety protocols because that was always a big concern, and we’re really pleased that our health and safety is so strong that nothing had to be upgraded once COVID came out. We were already thinking about really important health and safety measures. So all the team members who do cleaning are in full-body personal protective equipment. And that’s been the case even before COVID. The packaging is also cleaned in a proper cleanroom versus not even being cleaned, or maybe how a bar would clean your beer cup, with just a spray of water, or even like a restaurant doing it in the back of their kitchen. There’s an actual cleanroom environment. And then the third is that it’s being cleaned at very high standards with really sophisticated chemistry and technology. There’s a huge difference within reuse of how one reuses and what systems and measures are behind the scenes. And what’s been interesting is that with COVID, it’s still not even in the top-10 questions we get on customer service in any of the Loop deployment. Where I do get a lot of questions on reuse is in fact only from the members of the media. I say this with a smile and a joke, but I totally understand why you’re asking the question. But it’s interesting that it hasn’t come from the people participating. Do you think the growth of Loop right now is due to the fact that consumers are able to get their products without having to go to a store? And, do you think trend will continue, even after COVID is resolved? I definitely think that the growth is probably in some part linked to the general growth e-comm is having right now due to COVID—for sure. I don’t want to take entire credit that it’s just the platform, and I think the macroeconomic trends and how we are consuming are absolutely playing into it. The positive tailwind and just the general shift in consumption to online is definitely supporting the deployments we have of Loop today, which are mostly online. But do note that all the deployments coming up of Loop are in-store deployments. So we’re not necessarily an online play, we just happened to start online, and I think that’s an important distinction. But yes, today we’re seeing some nice tailwind just because of the way the models are set up today. I do think there’s this general question around the health and safety of reuse, as you just asked. And my hope is—so far so good—that people see the distinction in different reuse models, and that they’re not all the same. There’s a big difference between the systems behind them and how they operate. And during a COVID-type moment, which ones people should maybe temporarily stop using. Starbucks is a great example, and I really commend them for pausing. And really temporarily, by the way, I think it should come back after COVID is over. And then let’s see how much our life changes or not. There’s every sort of assumption. How much will we learn from this and how much will we change is unknown. I really hope, frankly, that we take a reflection that by slowing down the gears of the economy, the planet has improved greatly, from a pollution point of view. I have a funny feeling though, we won’t. We will simply try to work even harder to make up the time and revenue many companies have lost during this time. One thing I’ve seen with COVID is a lot of environmental groups saying that consumer brands are using it as an excuse to extol the benefits of single-use packaging, and that it will undo all the progress these groups have made. Do you think that’s true? Look, I think that I would answer it this way. I think that just like we commented, hopefully the world will reflect that slowing down the economy has made the world better from a climate change point of view and a pollution point of view. I’m sure you’ve seen lots of examples. I’ve seen a lot on my social media that are giving really objective feedback. Look at Italy before COVID, and the amount of emissions it was making during COVID is significantly down, and let’s see if people reflect on that. But that will be COVID creating an environmental improvement. I think on the other side, we are going to wake up to a heightened waste crisis, because people have been now purchasing way more disposable packaging, partly because we shifted our consumption say, away from restaurants and even more into packaged foods, and we will see a general increase in the waste crisis when this is over. I think that’s what we’re going to wake up to post-COVID: A better climate, but a worse environment from a waste point of view. And I think people will understand that it’s not the difference between disposable or reusable. Good packaging has good benefits. There’s really badly designed disposable packaging, and there’s really badly designed reusable, and vice versa. There is incredibly designed reusable packaging, and there’s incredibly designed disposable packaging. I think we shouldn’t necessarily link single-use versus multi-use to whether it’s well designed or badly designed. With the right systems in place, durable packaging can be more sterile or more clean than disposable packaging. Disposable packaging does have acceptable level of microorganisms on it. Yet when you go to a dentist office, and you get your teeth cleaned, they’re using metal tools that were used on hundreds of patients before you. And if they didn’t clean that to a surgically sterile state, that could be putting you at massive health and safety risk. Right? And we’re all totally fine with it. So this is this idea of single-use versus multi-use should be independently questioned from good design versus bad design, versus the cleanliness of the systems at play. They’re all independent concepts. I do understand completely why people link reusable to potentially greater risk, but I think it’s a misnomer. A disposable coffee cup sitting at Starbucks in an uncontrolled environment could collect a lot of dust and dirt and all sorts of other negatives. So these are unrelated questions. I do again, understand, but it’s weird. I’ll give you an example of the weirdness. Before COVID got really crazy, as it was just beginning, I was in an airport lounge, and there was a tray of apples, and they set a sign next to it saying, “To protect your health, each apple has been individually wrapped in Saran Wrap.” And I chuckled to myself and I was like, “Wait a minute. Okay, it’s lovely that they’re wrapped, but were they washed? Who touched them, and how did they touch them? Or did they just basically have a dirty hand?” It was a pesticide-laden apple, just being wrapped in Saran Wrap to make it seem better. So I don’t know, but I had a chuckle on it. I think there’s this weird psychological effect that’s not based in reality. And this is why I think the most important thing as anyone evaluates anything is to think about what are the systems behind it. And in a way, that’s where brands are very powerful. I trust, for example, that a Nestlé product has really good health and safety protocols behind it, just like someone who buys a Nestlé product on Loop should trust that Nestlé has evaluated the cleaning process and has signed off on it, or they wouldn’t put their brand on it. And not a single brand in Loop has asked us to do anything except continue to go. Do you think a reusable packaging program like Algramo where consumers use the same package over and over again is more prone to contamination? So here’s the difference. If you think about reuse systems, it all begins with a reusable package—a durable package. The real difference between any reusable system is not the package, but how the package is refilled. So I’d say Loop is a re-refill-for-you system. You throw it out, we pick it up, clean it, and then the manufacturer refills it, and it’s sold again. So let’s call Loop a re-refill-for-you system. We personally like it because it gives you the convenience of disposability. You can effectively feel disposable but act usable. Now, Algramo, which is a wonderful company, is a you-refill-for-yourself system, which is basically, you take it to a refill station, and they have a unique twist that their refill station can be static, but can also be mobile. It can be on wheels. And the consumer is charged with taking their package, cleaning it as they wish, and using it at the refill station. I think it’s important to note that they are not filling food products. They’re filling detergents, which have different health and safety protocols. I mean, they are literally cleaning agents. It’s not filling food. But one question that’s important to think about is what happens if a consumer who is sick—let’s just say with COVID or any other transmissible disease—is touching that package, and let’s say the virus or the bug can transmit onto the package, and what if the package then touches the refill station or any other aspect of it? And then a healthy person touches the refill station—maybe the walls of the refill station, it doesn’t have to be the nozzles, it could be any aspect of it—and it transmits? And I would say that’s the same as what happens if I should walk into a supermarket, and a sick person who had just looked at buying a can of pickles decided not to buy it and put it back on the shelf, and I picked it up a minute later. This is why Algramo is in no way different than a comparable example: If I’m sick and I evaluate a box of Cheerios and put them back, and you’re healthy and you pick it up a minute later. The same inherent risks are not more or less, right? So that would be my key answer. I think whether the consumer washes it themselves or not is not that relevant because the consumer is keeping the package for their own use. I think what’s really important is if the package goes from consumer A to consumer B, from consumer B to consumer C, and then from consumer C to consumer D, like Loop, then having a very strong cleaning protocol is critical. And I would in no way trust the consumer to clean the package. An example where I would be a bit more critical is there are a lot of reusable cup models where what they do is they have a float of coffee cups, let’s say between 10 coffee shops, and you can buy your coffee in a reusable cup, then you drop it off in a bin in the coffee shop, and then the coffee shop cleans it and then sells it again. Well in no way to disparage a coffee shop, I don’t trust a restaurant doing cleaning in a type of protocol that a big platform would. They would probably just throw it in their dishwasher. There wouldn’t be health and safety inspections, there wouldn’t be a cleanroom environment, which adds added health and safety. It’d be kind of the same as a restaurant setting though, wouldn’t it? It absolutely is. And during COVID, I would not eat in a restaurant and use reusable plates and forks. As soon as COVID is over, I would totally do it, because I don’t think we need to be as concerned post-COVID. Life was normal, and it worked just fine. And again, I think this is where we have to distinguish between today’s environment and a normal environment, and not assume that post-COVID we don’t go back to a normal state. I mean, most of our activities are very communal, and we’re sharing a lot of our microbes.  

Are Refillable Cosmetics the Future of Beauty?

Not only does refillable packaging feel like a palate cleanser after a steady diet of the single-use plastics, but a number of studies cite waste reduction as being more impactful than recycling.

“You wouldn’t imagine throwing out an HermeÌs handbag,” says perfumer Kilian Hennessy, whose line of luxury fragrances could be considered the cosmetic equivalent of a Birkin or a Kelly. Each elegant bottle tucked into a lacquered box feels far too beautiful to dispose of, and that was Hennessy’s plan all along. Around the same time he was conceiving his collection, he saw a perfume-bottle exhibit at Galerie-Museìe Baccarat in Paris and was amazed by the attention to detail on each crystal flacon. He wanted his packaging to capture that very same feeling as well as offer a nod to the origins of perfumery, such as the fragrance fountains of storied French perfume houses like Guerlain and Caron. “My grandmother had a bottle with her initials on it, and she would go back to the store and have it refilled,” he recalls. Hennessy figured if he was going to prioritize craftsmanship, then his bottles should be refillable too. (Curiously, his lipstick collection is not.) It was a design decision made more than a decade ago that suddenly has new relevance in light of climate change and the backlash against disposability. Not only does refillable packaging feel like a palate cleanser after a steady diet of the single-use plastics that encase so many of our cosmetics but a number of studies cite waste reduction as being more impactful than recycling, says Kayla Villena, a senior beauty analyst at Euromonitor. “With refills, you don’t have that footprint that comes from recycling something and turning it into something else,” she says. The race to be plastic-free has seen some companies switching to materials like glass and aluminum. Others, like Chanel, are doubling down on biodegradable options. (More news about its investment in a Finnish start-up that makes sustainably sourced packaging materials will come to light later this year.) But a growing number of beauty brands, from Olay to HermeÌs, are following in Hennessy’s footsteps, testing out refill systems and asking us to think of our moisturizer jars and lipstick cases the same way we do metal straws, canvas grocery totes and coffee tumblers. Initiatives like Loop, TerraCycle’s circular shopping platform – which announced an exclusive partnership with Loblaws, starting this year – have helped spread the word, but despite the recent buzz, the idea of refilling cosmetics isn’t new. Guerlain may be well known for its Bee perfume bottles, which can be replenished for life, but it also created Ne M’Oubliez Pas, its first refillable lipstick case, back in 1870. While Rouge G, the modern-day iteration, was originally designed to offer women the bespoke experience of choosing from a variety of shades and cases, it also happens to fit nicely into the company’s ambitious sustainability plan, including being carbon-neutral by 2028 and switching to entirely “eco-designed” packaging by 2022, according to sustainable development officer Sandrine Sommer. “At Guerlain, we think the best waste is the one you don’t produce,” she says. There’s also Thierry Mugler’s futuristic soda fountains, the perfume dispensers that debuted alongside Angel in 1992, conceived as a way to reward customers for investing in the pricey star-shaped bottles. The Body Shop’s founder and sustainability visionary, the late Anita Roddick, also introduced a refill concept in stores in the early ’90s but ultimately discontinued the program after a few years because people didn’t get it. Now that many consumers have caught up, the company is bringing refill stations back, stocking classics like Satsuma shower gel in newly opened outposts in London and Vancouver. Kirsten Kjaer Weis knows all about the challenges that come with being an early adopter. When the Danish face painter launched her line of organic makeup in 2010, retailers and consumers struggled to understand the refill system for her eyeshadow, lipgloss and blush compacts. For instance, despite the fact that the compacts are made of zamac, a weighty and expensive-looking metal, people would throw them out because of a scratch or scuff. Educating consumers has helped, and now refill purchases are a significant part of her business. Kjaer Weis is even exploring the idea of offering a repair service to care for palettes like you would a piece of jewellery. “If 5,000,000 jars were replaced with refill pods, that would save 1,000 pounds of plastic, which is significant.” While makeup and perfume lend themselves more easily to the refill system, “consumers see skincare as an investment in wellness” and, as a result, “synonymous with trending words like ‘zero waste’ and ‘conscious,’” says Villena, so expect to see more and more skincare brands offering top-ups of everything from serums to cleansers. P&G Beauty piloted an online refill program in the United States late last year and quickly sold out of the limited-edition Olay Regenerist Whip jars. The only catch: The refill pod housing the moisturizer comes in plastic packaging. (Pod refill programs like Kora Organics Turmeric Glow Moisturizer have hit the same snag.) Anitra Marsh, associate director of global sustainability and brand communications at P&G Beauty, agrees that it’s not ideal but says the goal, first and foremost, is to move the needle. “The mantra I’ve given my team is ‘Aim for progress, not perfection,’” she says. “If 5,000,000 jars were replaced with refill pods, that would save 1,000 pounds of plastic, which is significant.” In the meantime, learning about what the consumer wants is a key part of the process, because while more people are focused on sustainability, “nobody is unidimensional in their desires,” says Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist and author of Decoding the New Consumer Mind. “We have a strong desire to be more environmentally conscious,” she says, but we also want everything to be convenient. There’s always a “mismatch between intention and reality” and that presents a challenge for the refillable model, especially with habit-driven shoppers like boomers, who may have other psychological barriers such as concerns about things like hygiene. Yarrow says it all depends on how convenient brands make it to refill these products. If the onus is on the consumer, offering refills at retailers that people regularly visit, like a drugstore or supermarket, could help, and incentives like discounts and charitable donations would also sweeten the deal. “Refilling product is a habit change for the consumer,” acknowledges Marsh. But if more people are receptive to it, the reuse model has the potential to make a significant dent in the cosmetics industry’s waste problem – for now, anyway. “Things in the sustainability space are moving at a rapid pace,” says Marsh, who likens it to the tech industry. “The moment you think you know something, you’re wrong. And something new pops up.”

Sustainable packaging goes beyond traditional recycling

When buying food and beverage items, consumers are looking for delicious treats and drinks, but younger consumers are also looking to enjoy products that can help the environment. The average consumer is more aware that single-use containers, often made of plastic, are negatively affecting the environment. A Consumer Brands Association report found 86% of Americans believe we are experiencing a packaging and plastic waste crisis. What are producers doing to address this crisis? CPG brands create their own sustainability solutions Most legacy food and beverage companies have set sustainability goals for their organizations. Many of those goals include increased availability of products that come in sustainable packaging. ConagraNestle and Unilever all made recent pledges to increase sustainable materials in their packaging over the next five years. Conagra intends to make all of its plastic containers renewable, recyclable or compostable while Nestle and Unilever both signed the European Plastics Pact, which designates that participants are committed to boosting the recycled plastic content for single-use products and creating reusable packaging. In California, PepsiCo is testing a better substitute for plastic rings on beverage six-packs: molded pulp and paperboard packaging. This trial demonstrates how CPG producers are working to address customer desires for sustainable packaging that still fills the durability needs of companies. “[W]e’ve worked collaboratively with our suppliers to ensure the two solutions that we’re testing meet the needs of our consumers and customers while also addressing our functionality and sustainability requirements,” Emily Silver, PepsiCo Beverages North America’s vice president of innovation and marketing capabilities, said to BeverageDaily. While many brands are creating their own packaging solutions or reducing their virgin plastic use, several are also investing in a broader eco-friendly packaging infrastructure. Nestle is planning to purchase roughly $1.6 billion worth of recycled plastic over the next five years, and Perrier has launched an investment program for startups that are developing packaging options that have a “positive environmental and social impact.” Loop takes reusing to the masses Rather than simply reducing or recycling virgin plastic, some companies are addressing waste by offering accessible, reusable packaging. Recycling business TerraCycle debuted its circular delivery service Loop to consumers in 2019, and it is currently available in Paris, France, and the northeast region of the US. Loop’s online platform allows users to shop for consumer packaged goods products in reusable packaging from a variety of brands, which are shipped in a reusable container -- the Loop Tote -- that rids the need for single-use shipping materials. “While disposable design focuses on making our packaging as cheap as possible, durable design focuses on making containers as long lasting as possible, allowing us to access unparalleled materials, design, and function,” the Loop site states. After using up the products, Loop customers return the empty packaging via free UPS pickup where it is returned to Loop to be cleaned and disinfected in preparation for reuse. “Customers are demanding that brands step up and provide solutions that produce less waste,” said Loop Publicist Eric Rosen. “Brands are responding to this push by investing in sustainable packaging solutions such as Loop’s reuse model.” The service is currently available online, but Loop products will be available in Walgreens and Kroger retail locations in the US later in 2020. Once Loop products arrive at retail, customers will also be able to make in-store returns of reusable containers instead of shipping them. Loop’s brand partners include food brands such as Haagen DazsHidden ValleyTropicana and Chameleon Cold Brew. The service also offers personal care and cleaning products from brands such as GilletteDoveTide and Clorox. Rosen said that Loop welcomes participation from any type or size of CPG brand as long as they are committed to transforming their packaging from single-use to multi-use. “One challenge is redesigning packaging that lasts many reuse cycles,” Rosen said. “Brands must find the right material and design to suit their product. TerraCycle acts as a consultant for the packaging development process and tests all packaging for cleanability and durability prior to approval in the platform.” Rosen also revealed that Loop will be expanding internationally in 2020. Loop will partner with Tesco in the UK, Loblaws in Canada and Aeon in Japan. The platform also plans to be available in Germany and Australia in 2021. “Consumers can support brands that are taking the next step from recyclable packaging to reusable packaging,” said Rosen. “[R]ecycling is never going to be enough to solve waste at the root cause.”