Posts with term Tesco X

“Stop thinking disposable, think durable”: TerraCycle’s Loop reimagines production and consumption models

A grocery order where products are delivered undamaged – yet spawn no disposable packaging destined for  the trash or recycling bin after use – is the future envisioned by TerraCycle. The waste management expert launched the embodiment of this vision last year in a project called Loop. The platform is a home-delivery service that offers consumers the option of avoiding single-use models when doing groceries by delivering products in durable, reusable packaging.


That to me is the magic of durable. ‘Durable’ allows us to elevate designs so much that you don’t even have to care about sustainability; you should love it. Now if you also happen to care about the environment, that’s a double benefit. You don’t lose the design benefit. You’d just also be like, ‘Oh wow, I’m also saving the planet in the same go. Isn’t that great?’


—  Tom Szaky CEO at TerraCycle and Founder of Loop


—  Regrets? I have a few. Here’s one: In the late 1980s, in Washington, D.C., I voted what I subsequently realized was the wrong way on the so-called Bottle Bill, which aimed to put deposits on bottled drinks for the ultimate purpose of increasing recycling. It was a practical response on my part (doesn’t mean it was right, however). To get your money back, you had to store the bottles someplace. In a 600-square-foot apartment filled with the flotsam and jetsam of two people, that required some innovative thinking, and thinking wasn’t (and sometimes still isn’t) something I was necessarily inclined to do.

Thirty years later, there’s no question that I would do the thinking on this particular issue, but the irony is, now I wouldn’t even have to. Tom Szaky has done that for me. That shouldn’t be a total surprise; when you arrive in the US as a Hungarian refugee, leave Princeton University after a year in change to start a company, you’re pretty bright. In fact, you’re more than that, you’re smart and confident AND you probably have a damn good idea. Szaky’s damn good idea was called TerraCycle, which today is one of the world's leading innovators in the field of waste management. Inc. magazine named Szaky the #1 CEO under the age of 30, back in 2006. Inc. didn’t ask me, but I’d have voted for that.

Tom, you have a great, unusual back story, leaving Princeton at age 19 to found TerraCycle; talk about having the courage of your convictions. But let's not dwell on the past. Tell us what kind of company TerraCycle is now, and where you’re going. Tom — Absolutely. So, TerraCycle now is 16 years old as an organization. We operate in 21 countries around the world and our mission is to eliminate the idea of waste, and we do that in a number of different ways. We have three divisions. Our first, the TerraCycle brand, is really known for is collecting and recycling those things that are difficult to recycle. From your dirty diapers to your cigarette butts and hundreds of other packaging forms in between. Our second division is not about collecting and recycling, but about integrating waste like ocean plastic into products like shampoo bottles. It’s more about making things recycled. Now, our third division, Loop, was announced 100 days ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos. It’s all about: How do we shift away from what we believe is the root cause of waste, which is using something just once, or “disposability,” and shifting towards a no-waste system, where we use things over and over, or with “durability.” All while trying to maintain the benefits of disposability, which is to make things cheap and convenient. That’s what Loop is all about. Twenty-one countries? How do you manage around 21 countries? Are there 21 Tom Szakys around the world? Well, in a way, yes. TerraCycle is made up of about 300 team members. So, there’s 299 other people like me running around, trying to advocate for the work we do. The important thing is that if you think about any one of our divisions, whether it’s TerraCycle collecting and recycling, or integrating waste, or Loop and moving to durables, the underlying way they work is actually incredibly similar, which is: Each type of waste is a unique animal. Each one has to be collected, processed. In TerraCycle, it's more shredding and melting and recovering material, while in Loop, it's more about cleaning. And then working with major brands and major retailers to enable these things to exist.   Series-1-Tom-21Apr-01.jpg Series-1-Tom-21Apr-09.jpgSeries-1-Tom(03)-versionC.jpgSeries-1-Tom-21Apr-15.jpg    

“We need to eliminate the idea of waste...And that’s why recycling, and I say this as a recycling company, is only a temporary solution, not a perfect solution.”

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Even though you are obviously an environmentally conscious company, you’re still going to have to deal with regulators. You’re still going to have to deal with maybe some pushback, right? I have to say that as a ‘purposeful organization,’ we’re very lucky that people generally love us and want to help us exist versus make it challenging for us to exist. It’s usually we’re being advocated for, versus being advocated against. Usually from a legal framework, most of the laws of the land are structured to actually help companies like us to exist, versus hurt. So, it’s usually net-beneficial. When I’m asked is it good if a new law passes, a new regulation around waste, I’m always like “Absolutely!” Cause it's helping us take a step forward. A lot of it, too, is in partnership with the major brands and major retailers that we partner with. They take on a lot of the work as well, because it’s all around their products, and by partnering with them, a lot of the challenges go away. I’ll circle back to that about the partnerships. But first ... Waste: Are you basically trying to eliminate the word? The concept from our consciousness? You know what I’m saying? Yeah, I do, I totally hear you, and I think every company has to have a big hairy goal. This is a ridiculously big hairy goal, but the direct answer is ‘yes.’ I mean, if you asked a tree what is waste, I don’t think a tree could define it. Cause it doesn’t exist in nature, or any animal if you asked them, what is waste, they couldn’t define it because in nature there is no such thing, right? My useless outputs such as the carbon I exhale are super-useful to other organisms. So, the useless outputs to organism A are typically useful outputs to some other organism and such. There are no outputs that are useless in both cases. And that is the modern idea of waste: outputs that are useless to the creator but also useless to any other organism that may want to eat it. In fact, most cases that animals think that waste is food, they eat it to their detriment.

“If you asked a tree what is waste, I don’t think a tree could define it. Cause in nature there is no such thing.”

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We need to eliminate the idea of waste. This is why recycling is an important temporary solution, but strangely and academically, if you looked up the word ‘recycling’ in a dictionary, it would be bound to the word ‘waste’. In other words, the word ‘waste’ has to appear in the definition of the word ‘recycling.’ And that’s why recycling, and I say this as a recycling company, is only a temporary solution, not a perfect solution. Can you show me, I mean, not just tell me, the difference between TerraCycle and Loop? Oh, sure, let me pick a product that exists in both businesses to compare and contrast. I actually even have a prop here. Bear with me. Ok, let’s do something like an ice cream container, because I happen to be having one in my hand. So today, if you bought an ice cream container, it would probably be paperboard, right? If you bought like a Häagen Dazs or let’s say a Ben & Jerry’s or something. Now that paperboard container, when you're done with it, is not recyclable and will end up in a landfill or an incinerator. That’s today. With our first division, we would, and we do this with Ben & Jerry’s for example in Japan, give you an opportunity to be able to collect that used paperboard ice cream container, and we would take it. We would shred it. We would separate the plastic from the paper and recycle both into new plastic and paper products. That is recycling, right?


“This Häagen Dazs container is like the best ice cream container in the world. It’s beautiful. It has new function. And, the amount of work to have this go-around again is incredibly little compared to the amount of work to recycle something, let alone to dispose of it.”

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Now in Loop, we change the container to stainless steel. Incredibly beautiful. A fantastic container. And this, when we pick it up from you, dirty with ice cream residue in it, gets cleaned and refilled. That’s the difference between Loop and TerraCycle and how they work. The benefit is with Loop, you get a way better container. This is like the best ice cream container in the world. There’s nothing better than this. It’s beautiful. It has new function. And also, the amount of work to have this go-around again is incredibly little compared to the amount of work to recycle something, let alone to dispose of it. Okay, I’m really impressed about that ice cream thing. I’ll show you another one for fun. Here, for example, is the newly designed Loop toothbrush, made from metal. But first, imagine an old plastic toothbrush. Okay? Sure. In a plastic toothbrush today, you can’t recycle at home, so you throw it out. That’s today, there’s no choice. We have, at TerraCycle, created a national program with Colgate and with other brands as well, but with Colgate in the U.S. that nationally allows you to recycle your toothbrushes by sending them to us and we shred them, melt them, and maybe make them into a playground. That’s TerraCycle. In Loop, when this newly designed toothbrush comes back, now this is a bit more complex. So, the new toothbrush has parts of it that are reasonable to reuse. Like, check this out. The bottom of the new toothbrush, this part, that’s reasonable to reuse. So, this is cleaned and goes to the next consumer. While the head, no matter how well I clean the head, you would never be comfortable using someone’s old head. So, this goes to recycling, and all we do is put a new head on and out it goes to the next consumer. So here, the bottom is what goes to re-use. And this is probably the most beautiful manual toothbrush ever invented. I mean it's beautiful. Metal, feels amazing, and that’s what durability does. It doesn’t just solve for the environment. It actually makes a way, way, way better product.

“And this Oral-B is probably the most beautiful manual toothbrush ever invented. I mean it’s beautiful. Metal, feels amazing, and that’s what durability does. It doesn’t just solve for the environment. It actually makes a way, way, way better product.”

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That’s great, because what you’re saying is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Yup. How do you interact with the customer, incentivizing them to participate? How do I get the mailer to send back to you? Who pays for that? Do I have to go to the actual post office, cause it's bulky or whatever? Okay so, I’m going to always compare and contrast TerraCycle and Loop because one is recycling, and one is reuse. Let’s first start with TerraCycle, which is recycling. Take a shampoo bottle. Okay? Today, most cosmetic packaging is not recyclable. So, if you wanted to take today’s disposable, not recyclable cosmetic packaging, you can go on TerraCycle.com, type in “cosmetic packaging.” Type in your location or you could look for an already existing public location. Which is say, someone who has set up a program. You know, put out a cardboard box and said “Please collect your cosmetics in here” or if you don’t have one near you, you could create your own by joining and putting out your own cardboard box, and say your business or your office, your school or your community center, your church. And then you could choose to register that to be public so the next person searching can find you. Then whenever that box is full of not just yours but hundreds of cosmetic packages, you download a free shipping label from our shipping website. Send it in and then in some cases, even get an incentive for every piece of waste you send to us; say two cents per piece of waste to any school or charity of your choice. We’ve given away about $40 million in that approach so far in our history. And then we take the waste and then we recycle it by shredding, melting it into new objects. That’s on TerraCycle, and there the direct answer to your question is: in most cases, the brand; in some cases, the retailer; and in some cases, the city pays so that you have a free program. And if that isn’t the case, we offer paid versions where you as an individual could buy it if we haven’t been successful getting a sponsor to fund it.

Tom Szaky demonstrates the beautifully designed re-usable Clorox Disinfecting Wipes packaging for Loop. Tom Szaky demonstrates the beautifully designed re-usable Clorox Disinfecting Wipes packaging for Loop. And Loop? Loop is embedded into retailers. Carrefour in France, Tesco in the U.K., for example. We’re going to be announcing the U.S. retailer in May; it’s a big one. All leading retailers in their respective countries. So that’s like that cool toothbrush, the cool ice cream container, right? Those would be available either through their online e-commerce portals or through their stores. So, imagine like a durable section of their e-commerce platform or a durable section of the store. You go in, and let’s just say you bought the Häagen Dazs ice cream and the Oral-B toothbrush, the ones I showed you just now. On each one, you pay for the content, about the same as you normally would. And then you put a deposit on the durable component or the durable package equal to the value of that durable package. So, the Häagen Dazs, let’s say it’s $6 to buy a pint. Then in Loop, it’s going to be $6 plus maybe a few dollars’ deposit on the package. In the toothbrush, the consumable is the brush. Let’s say a brush is usually a few bucks so the brush head is a few bucks, but the handle is maybe a little more deposit because it's so beautiful and luxurious etcetera. If you buy it in the store, you just leave the store with it. If you buy online, it’s delivered to you in a durable shipping container. Now here’s the fun part. When you’re done with it, and your toothbrush is worn out, your Häagen Dazs is empty, there’s no cleaning, dirty, like garbage, you put it into the durable shipping container you received if it’s e-commerce, and if you bought it in the store, you put it into effectively a durable garbage bag that you can get in the store. Like literally like garbage: dirty, no mixing. You then take it, if you bought it in the store, you take that garbage bag and you drop it off in a Loop bin at the store, and then a day later, we’ll check it in and give you all your deposits back in full, and if you bought it online, you can give it to the e-com driver on your next delivery, and he’ll take it or she’ll take it away, and then it comes to us, and then when we check it in and give you all your deposits back. And then you just go buy it again. Whether online or in the store. Is it going to be an automatic refill? In the online version, you can set your product to be “refill me when returned” or “don't refill me when returned.” Only in the online version. Which means that if you send in an empty Häagen Dazs and you set it as “refill me when returned,” the empty container triggers an order of the next one. That’s awesome. Now let me ask you, what percentage of my incentive is my sense of social responsibility, which I guess you could argue that would be the two cents to charity, but I’m talking about more like the ‘I just want to do good for you’ part. And the whole concept of not throwing things in the garbage, how much of the incentive is financial in any way or could it be? With TerraCycle, the recycling, that $40 million to be given away has never gone into an individual’s pocket at all. It always goes to a school or charity of the collector's choice. And so, the motivation in TerraCycle is entirely environmental and social. Environmental for not having waste and social for helping benefit people with those donations. There is no economic benefit to you. In fact, it’s a little bit more hassle. Loop, which is our re-use section, let me ask you, if you were as anti-environment as a human being can be, wouldn’t you still prefer your Häagen Dazs in that new package rather than in the paperboard one? Totally. That to me is the magic of durable. ‘Durable’ allows us to elevate designs so much that you don’t even have to care about sustainability; you should love it. Now if you also happen to care about the environment, that’s a double benefit. You don't lose the design benefit. You’d just also be like, “Oh wow, I’m also saving the planet in the same go. Isn’t that great?”         Talking globally, is it hard to get people to do the right thing, with the environment? The branded TerraCycle programs are entirely built on “please do the right thing. Please be a good human being.” That’s what they’re focused on. And that’s not easy. I mean, we’ve grown, we’ve been very successful as an organization. But, TerraCycle’s revenue this year will probably be like $37 million or something. That’s not bad, but that’s not monstrous, you know? I’m proud of that, but it’s not billions as many companies can be, right? Loop on the other hand, because I can play into one’s selfish motivations of ‘just better, more convenient,’ all that, I think could be billions very quickly, and we’re seeing that response already. The level of interest of consumers and so on is monumentally greater than we have ever experienced in TerraCycle’s core business. Now Loop couldn’t have existed without TerraCycle existing, but I feel like there’s way more opportunity for growth on Loop than there is on TerraCycle. Let’s shift a little bit from the environment to branding. To marketing. Do you find it easy to find audiences with consumer-goods companies? Today, I do. Today is incredibly easy but remember this is year 16 of putting in my dues, almost two decades of doing what I would say are quite innovative things and building on a lot of success. That also means a lot of struggle, a lot of failure, but we’ve shown a lot of success, and we’ve shown a tremendous amount of innovation. So, at this point, I can get to about any consumer-product company quite quickly, but that wasn’t the case if you asked me five or 10 years ago; it would have been much harder. I think that’s also compounded because now people are awoke to the idea of not TerraCycle per se, but to the issue of waste. Three years ago, people didn’t understand the issue of ocean plastic, but now they do.

“This is year 16 of putting in my dues, doing what I would say are quite innovative things and building on a lot of success. That also means a lot of struggle, a lot of failure. At this point, I can get to any consumer-product company quite quickly, but that wasn’t the case five or 10 years ago.”

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“I think that’s also compounded because now people are awoke to the issue of waste. Three years ago, people didn’t understand the issue of ocean plastic, but today they do.”

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The award-winning TerraCycle Head & Shoulders packaging for the European market made with recycled beach plastic. And once you get inside the door it’s a relatively easy sell? Well, this is interesting. Two answers. With TerraCycle, we don’t go into a brand and say, “You should take a responsibility over your waste because it’s causing a problem.” Instead, the way we frame TerraCycle when we go into a brand is, we say, “By creating a recycling platform on your toothbrushes, people won’t necessarily buy more toothbrushes, because consumers buy what they need. They’ll just happen to buy your brand instead of the other brand.” We frame it as how it’s going to make them win at what they deeply care about, which is market share or profitability or increase of net sells. That’s how we frame it, right? In Loop, the way we frame it is to say, “You have a waste problem and you have an innovation problem. Your innovation problem is that packaging and products are getting cheaper every day, which means what can you do to innovate and make your consumer delighted?” After all, for many products, innovation is limited. Imagine if you’re a toothpaste tube, what could you really do other than change the artwork if you had five cents a package to redesign with? You can’t really innovate much more with five cents other than changing the artwork. That’s pretty limited, but with Loop, you can redo everything. You can change the entire ecosystem of what is it to dispense toothpaste. And completely change the entire equation. And that allows for breakthrough innovation, and, oh, by the way, it completely solves your waste problem. But in that order. So, you guys are a packaging company maybe as much as you are a recycling company, as you are anything else? With Loop, we don’t design packaging nor make packaging, right? Instead what we do is, we help you create systems around the packaging that make the packaging better. It occurs to me, if you guys are really successful, do you put yourself out of business? Absolutely. I look forward to it. In your lifetime? Look, the sooner the better. Who knows? I mean, the waste problem is so gargantuan. I think that’s a bold answer to say, ‘in my lifetime,’ but that outcome would be quite fine. Köszönöm Tom, for taking 45-minutes out of your very hectic schedule!

All photography of Tom Szaky shot exclusively for CASE/BY/CASE NYC on location in Trenton, NJ at TerraCycle by Chloe Sobel. Thank you very much for hosting us Tom and Lauren!  

Recycling the Unrecyclable: Tom Szaky of TerraCycle

When it comes to saving the planet, one social entrepreneur has been fighting the good fight for over 18 years. Along the way, Tom Szaky founder of TerraCycle has established a formidable reputation for recycling the non-recyclable. Working in 20 countries, with major partners including consumer brands municipalities and manufacturers, TerraCycle has eliminated billions of pieces of waste from the landfill through various innovative platforms. And with another pioneering initiative just about to launch, it seems Szaky is just getting started.  


Tom Szaky of TerraCycle

  [LISTEN TO THE PODCAST BELOW] On this special Earth Month podcast, we speak with Tom Szaky who founded Terracycle in 2001 with a mission of eliminating the Idea of Waste®. His company achieves that mission through a variety of reuse, recycle, closed-loop and upcycle solutions. For example, they turn juice pouches into backpacks, granola wrappers into pencil cases and dental products into playgrounds, among plenty of other things.   In our conversation Szaky offers a primer on recycling terms and terminology, shares lessons on how to unlock scale and establish valuable corporate partnerships and gives us a glimpse into his latest initiative, Loop. The circular shopping platform delivers products in reusable packaging and then collects, cleans and refills them – an initiative meant to appeal to the consumers desire for both sustainability and convenience.   Listen to Tom’s story here.    

Closing The Loop On Packaging Waste

Loop,ꟷan initiative that links major consumer product brands, retailers and Terracycle,ꟷis generating a lot of excitement since its announcement in January at the Davos World Economic Forum. Loop, which will actually launch in May, is a shopping concept that will deliver common household food products in packaging that is made to be used multiple times. The system will be tested in Paris and New York as a first step, with London, Toronto and Tokyo expected to be added later in 2019.

TerraCycle establishes global alliance to promote reusable and recyclable packaging / Over 20 major companies join Loop / Circular shopping platform

Another major coalition to reduce plastics waste has been announced (see PIEWeb of 17.01.2019) with consumer goods giants such as Procter & GamblePepsiCo and Coca-Cola participating. Established by waste management company TerraCycle (Trenton, New Jersey / USA; www.terracycle.com), Loop (Trenton; www.loopstore.com) is an e-commerce platform that will ship products in reusable packaging and collect it after use – "Loop is the milkman reimagined."
  Reusable shampoo bottles (Photo: TerraCycle)
Consumers can order products from participating companies, and empty used containers are then put into dedicated shipping tote bags and collected by Loop directly from households. The packaging will be cleaned for refill and reuse, or recycled as appropriate. The aim is to eliminate waste from single-use packaging and shipping materials, such as cardboard boxes. "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," says Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle. Loop was presented at the World Economic Forum(WEF, Geneva / Switzerland; www.weforum.org) that was held from 22-25 January 2019 in Davos / Switzerland. Two pilot projects in New York and Paris will start in the coming spring, with more locations to be added during 2019 and 2020. The other companies taking part in the initiative include UnileverMars PetcareThe Clorox CompanyThe Body ShopCoca-Cola European PartnersMondelēz InternationalDanoneJacobs Douwe EgbertsLesieurBICBeiersdorfRBPeople Against DirtyNature's PathThousand FellGreenhouseGrillianceBurlap & Barrel Single Origin SpicesReinberger Nut ButterCoZie and Preserve. French food retailer Carrefour is the founding retailer, and Tesco will pilot Loop in the UK later in 2019. Transportation company UPSand waste disposal group Suez are also participating.  

Big brands revisit the milkman model to cut plastic pollution

(Reuters) - Major packaged goods sellers and retailers, under pressure to cut the flow of single-use plastic bottles and containers clogging the world’s waterways, have teamed with recycling and shipping firms on an e-commerce service that puts a twist on the old-fashioned milkman. Called Loop and announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, it delivers products such as orange juice, shampoo and laundry detergent in reusable glass and metal bottles to shopper doorsteps and retrieves the empties for cleaning and reuse. Launch partners include recycling firm and Loop parent TerraCycle; shipper United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N); consumer packaged goods sellers Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N), Unilever Plc (ULVR.L), PepsiCo Inc (PEP.O) and Coca-Cola European Partners Plc CCEP.N; and retailers Carrefour (CARR.PA) and Tesco Plc (TSCO.L). Loop’s unveiling comes just months after China’s decision to stop collecting and processing plastic waste escalated alarm over environmental damage to the world’s oceans. The service launches in May with projects in Paris and the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area. A UK program is slated for later in 2019, with Toronto, Tokyo and California to follow next year.   Users order products online and put down fully refundable deposits for the reusable packaging. They can wipe out shipping fees of $15-$20 by including about seven items in their order, said Tom Szaky, chief executive of recycling firm and Loop parent company TerraCycle. Plastic production has surged over the last 50 years, leading to widespread use of inexpensive, disposable bottles, cups, takeaway containers and other products. Government bans on products like single-use plastic water bottles, shopping bags and polystyrene cups have sent retailers and consumer goods companies searching for solutions. Loop’s Paris retail partner Carrefour will test and tweak the program ahead of the official launch. “It will surprise me if it works on day one,” said Carrefour Secretary General Laurent Vallee, who added that Loop challenges industry and consumers “to act, to think and to buy differently.” PepsiCo will start a 5,000-household Paris project with Tropicana orange juice in glass bottles and Quaker Chocolate Cruesli cereal in steel containers, said Simon Lowden, president and chief marketing officer of global snacks and insights. Lowden and other executives vowed to use their companies’ scale and marketing muscle to support the project, but declined to quantify financial investments. P&G’s Loop contributions include Tide purclean laundry detergent in stainless steel bottles and Pampers diaper recycling. Loop’s refundable deposits in Europe range from 0.25 euros for a Coca-Cola 200 ml bottle to 47 euros ($53.50) for Pampers recycling, TerraCycle said. Virginie Helias, P&G’s chief sustainability officer, said the company will monitor Loop demand before investing in comprehensive package redesign projects. Likewise at Nestle, which designed a stainless-steel Haagen-Dazs ice cream container designed for Loop’s New York-area project, Kim Peddle Rguem, Nestle USA’s ice cream president.

Big Consumer Brands Will Start Taking Their Packaging Back

(Bloomberg) -- In the environmentalist mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle,” almost all of the attention has been paid to recycling. Now some of the world’s biggest consumer brands are trying to shift the focus to the second R, with a program that provides products in reusable containers that can be returned for a refund. The durable packaging program, called “Loop” -- a reference to a theoretical circular economy where nothing is wasted -- debuted at the World Economic Forum in Davos Thursday. Led by New Jersey-based recycling company TerraCycle, Loop will offer popular products from about 25 companies including Nestle, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo in reusable containers that customers order online or purchase in stores and return to the company when finished. The effort evokes the milkman of the 1940s, or even the glass bottle deposits still collected today. In many ways, that’s a better model, said TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky. “In the milkman model, the packaging was owned by the dairy and this kind of garbage didn’t exist.” About 80 percent of all plastic ends up in landfills or the ocean, and grocery packaging creates more waste than the popular scapegoats of plastic bags and straws. “We can’t recycle or clean our way out of this. We have to stop the waste from entering the system to begin with,” Skazy said. By mid-May, products from Loop will initially be available online to customers in Paris through Carrefour and, in the U.S., in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. TerraCycle is finalizing grocery partnerships in the U.S. and Toronto, adding distribution through London’s Tesco later this year, and targeting Tokyo in 2020. Loop will collect a refundable deposit that customers will get back when they return their containers. UPS will pick up the empties for no additional charge. Even allowing for the energy required to transport and prepare the products for reuse, the program reduces waste, TerraCycle says. It won’t stop the stream of plastic waste entering the ocean, but the containers do recover their environmental cost of production after three or four uses. The brands developed the durable containers with their own product designers. Clorox wipes will come in a shiny aluminum tube, Tropicana orange juice and Hellman’s mayonnaise will ship in durable glass. For Haagen-Dazs, Nestle designed a double-walled aluminum jar that actually keeps ice cream colder than the waxed-cardboard disposable packaging. “Reusability does bring an additional element of complexity,” said Simon Lowden, president of PepsiCo’s Global Snacks Group. The company’s designers wanted to keep the packaging looking “fresh and untampered” and make sure it can be cleaned multiple times. The beverage company is also betting on reusable packaging in other parts of its business, most notably its $3.2 billion acquisition of SodaStream last year. “We are looking to help build a world where plastics need never become waste,” Lowden said. “Trials like this help us evaluate the future potential for reusable models and our ability to scale initiatives.”  The packaging is about twice as expensive for manufacturers to produce, but the cost is offset through accounting rules that allow companies to depreciate the expense for wear and tear. TerraCycle has invested about $10 million in the project, using its free cash and raising capital. “It’s a very big bet, but why not?” Szaky said. “Baby boomers look at this nostalgically and say this is how we used to do it, while millennials say, ‘I’m sick of all this plastic waste.’”

Loop could be the major packaging shift we've been waiting for

A new initiative pushes the responsibility back to the manufacturer.


  Instead of a use-it-once ice cream pint, Haagen Daaz containers in the Loop program are made of double-walled stainless steel, which keeps ice cream colder and available for hundreds of uses down the road. (Photo: Courtesy TerraCycle) It's now well-known that the packaging for our food and personal products is an unsustainable, garbage-producing mess. Even stuff that's recyclable mostly isn't — especially plastics. In all the years we've been diligently recycling, the truth is we haven't gotten very far. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, just 9 percent of plastic was recycled, 16 percent of it was burned, and 75 percent was sent to landfills in 2015. Looking at these numbers, it's easy to see why our oceans, and the animals that live there, are choked with plastics, and our beaches strewn with the stuff. Clearly the "recycle more" mantra has failed and we need another solution to packaging. Even the experts agree: "While recycling is critically important, it's not going to solve the waste problem," according to Tom Szaky, the CEO of TerraCycle, a company that has worked on issues around packaging and recycling for over a decade. Enter Loop, a program with a mission to "eliminate the idea of waste," says Szaky. Loop takes up the first part of the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle" by creating returnable, reusable packaging for common consumer items. The idea for Loop was founded at the World Economic Forum by TerraCycle and some big names in the consumer products business, including 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.
  A huge variety of products are already part of the Loop roll-out, from shelf-stable foods, to personal-care items. (Photo: Courtesy TerraCycle) How did TerraCycle come up with this large-scale reusable packaging concept? Szaky says he and his team dug deep and looked at some hard truths over several years: "If recyclability is not the foundational answer [to our waste problems], what's the root cause? The root cause of waste is disposability," says Szaky. And while it's easy to say "use fewer disposable items" — something many of us have dedicated serious time to, the truth is that all the rah-rah-reuse enthusiasm and personal changes it may have engendered hasn't been even close to enough. Our waste has increased over the past decade. It's time to get real: "Disposability is easy to vilify, but we also need to look at why disposability won — because it's cheap and convenient. That speaks to why consumers want it — they're willing to sacrifice the environmental negatives for the cheapness and convenience," said Szaky. It's not pretty to hear, but it's true. So, instead of trying to change the behavior of billions, TerraCycle looked at how to solve the root cause of waste, while still maintaining the virtues of disposables, like affordability and convenience. The birth of a circular system
Loop works by creating a circular system — rather than a linear one — for packaging. (Photo: Courtesy TerraCycle) Loop takes some of its DNA from AirBnB and Uber, by understanding that consumers have no interest in owning a package, or having to deal with its disposal. Just like many people don't want to own a car, they just want to get from A to B, so Loop shifts the packaging responsibility back to the companies that make the products we want (the ice cream, olive oil or deodorant that's inside the packages). Szaky says some of the cues for this came from the past: "In the milkman model, the package wasn't owned by the consumer, but owned by manufacturer — so they were motivated to make it long-lasting. When packaging was shifted to become the property of consumer, it was all about making it as cheap as possible, to drive price down," says Szaky. How does Loop work exactly? You order from the Loop store, and your stuff will be shipped to you. On the first transaction, there's a deposit for the container — say 25 cents for a Coca-Cola. Once it's returned to the store, or sent back in the reusable shipping container, "no matter what state it's returned in (even if broken, because the container is the manufacturer's responsibility), you get your deposit back in full," says Szaky. Durability becomes a goal again
Deodorant in reusable containers means you pay what you always did for the product, but it looks much higher-end in your bathroom vanity. (Photo: Courtesy TerraCycle) If you sign up for auto-refills timed to your schedule for personal care stuff (or, let's face it, ice cream!) the deposit stays in your account and you simply get your deodorant, toothpaste or razors refilled automatically — with literally no waste. You get what you want — the product inside — and the package is the company's to deal with. (Yep, you can even return dirty packages.) The huge boon to a new packaging model isn't just for the consumer or the planet we all share. It benefits the companies that make our stuff, too. When Pepsi owns the package, and the consumer owns the contents, the number of times the package can be reused becomes more important than its cheapness — and a durable package could even cost the company less in the long run if designed well — a win-win for the company and the environment. Durable, reusable packaging also allows companies to make containers that are more functional (like the Haagen Daaz container that keeps ice cream colder, longer). It also allows for way more fun, interesting and marketable design possibilities.
Even Pampers gets a circular packaging upgrade in the Loop program. (Photo: Courtesy TerraCycle) Imagine: Instead of ugly, wasteful plastic bottles, what if we used high-design glass ones for our mouthwash? In the age of Instagram, it's actually a genius PR move for companies to make their product containers beautiful as well as functional. In France, Carrefour grocery stores have partnered with Loop, and a pilot program at Tesco in London will debut sometime later in 2019. About 125 products will be available for U.S. consumers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York via the Loop store, starting in March. Some of the biggest ocean-plastic polluters (see the Greenpeace list here) are the same companies that have invested in Loop. We've asked for a change, and they're giving it to us.
This container sure looks a lot prettier than a disposable plastic one. (Photo: Courtesy TerraCycle)  

EPR in Action: TerraCycle, CPG Giants Close ‘Loop’ on Single-Use Packaging

A first-of-its-kind, global shopping platform, Loop™ aims to offer zero-waste packaging options for the world’s most popular consumer products. Just a week after the launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste — a cadre of global companies from the plastics, chemicals and CPG value chain that has banded together to advance solutions to environmental plastic waste — a coalition of the largest consumer product companies, along with international recycling leader TerraCycle, today unveiled a first-of-its-kind, global shopping system called Loop™. The initiative is designed to change the world’s reliance on single-use packaging and offer a convenient and enhanced circular solution to consumers, while securing meaningful environmental benefits.   Launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Loop will enable consumers to responsibly consume a variety of products in customized, brand-specific, durable packaging that is collected, cleaned, refilled and reused. The content, if recoverable, will be either recycled or reused.   The idea for Loop was founded at the World Economic Forum by TerraCycle and consumer product companies BeiersdorfBICThe Body ShopBurlap & Barrel Single Origin SpicesThe Clorox CompanyCoca-Cola European PartnersCoZieDanoneGreenhouseGrillianceJacobs Douwe EgbertsMars PetcareMondelēz InternationalNature’s PathNestlePeople Against DirtyPepsiCoPreserveProcter & Gamble(P&G), RBReinberger Nut ButterTeva Deli, Thousand Fell and Unilever. Additional partners are leading food retailer Carrefour as the founding retailer, with leading UK retailer Tesco to pilot Loop in the UK later in the year; along with primary transportation company UPS and sustainable resource management company Suez.   This approach to shopping was made possible as a result of innovation investments made by the founding partners, and their commitment to developing more circular supply chains from package design to manufacturing through consumer use. The aim was to offer a zero-waste option for the world’s most popular consumer products while maintaining affordability, improving convenience and returning used disposable or durable items to a circular life cycle either through reuse or recycling.   The environmental benefits of Loop durable packaging vs. single-use packaging have been proven and verified in Life Cycle Assessments under usage pattern assumptions that will be further validated in pilots scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2019 in France and the northeastern United States. Additional markets are expected to launch throughout 2019 and 2020.
image.png “As a response to the global challenge in managing waste and the opportunity to improve consumers’ experience, a group of committed global brands, retailers, infrastructure companies, along with the World Economic Forum have come together to create a new way to more responsibly consume products.” said TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky. “Loop will not just eliminate the idea of packaging waste, but greatly improve the product experience and the convenience in how we shop. 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.”   How Loop works:
  • Shop: Consumers will go to the Loop website or Loop partner retailer’s websites and shop for trusted brands now redesigned to be packaging waste-free.
  • Receive: Consumers receive their durable products in Loop’s exclusively designed shipping tote that eliminates the need for single-use shipping materials such as cardboard boxes.
  • Enjoy: Consumers experience elegance and convenience all while eliminating the idea of throw-away packaging waste.
  • Loop picks 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, which Loop will pick up directly from their home.
  • Loop cleans: Loop’s team of scientists has developed custom cleaning technologies so that each product packaging may be safely reused.
  • Loop refills, recycles or reuses: Loop promptly replenishes products as needed and returns the refilled shipping totes to the consumer. If there is recoverable product, it will be reused or recycled.
  “At P&G, we are building on 180 years of innovation and world-class consumer insight to enable responsible consumption at scale,” said Virginie Helias, VP and Chief Sustainability Officer at P&G, also part of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. “Through leading brands such as PanteneTide and Cascade, we have developed new, durable and refillable packaging that is delivered in a waste-free and hassle-free way as part of the LOOP platform.”
  Along with the P&G brands Helias mentioned as being included in the service, CrestAriel and Febreze are also available in durable, refillable packaging; and toothbrush heads by Oral-B, and razors and blades by Venus andGillette will be recycled by the service. And Pampers and Always will be test-collecting used hygiene products from consumer homes for further recycling, using groundbreaking, proprietary technology developed by Fater — a P&G and Angelini Group Joint Venture — that turns used absorbent hygiene products into secondary raw materials for higher-value applications.  
Roberta Barbieri, Sustainability VP at PepsiCo, commented: “Taking action to design our packaging to be recyclable and reusable is a critical goal of ourPerformance with Purpose agenda; and as we look to build a PepsiCo where plastics need never become waste, we are also exploring a number of ideas to reinvent the ways consumers can enjoy our products. Our participation in Loop builds on this commitment as well as providing the added convenience of e-commerce and home delivery.   “Initially we will be launching Quaker and Tropicana offerings in Paris, and have created vessels which we hope will excite our consumers, combining durability with high aesthetic design. As we work towards our sustainable packaging goals, we will continue to explore our own in-house innovations as well as participate in collaborative efforts to reduce waste.” image.png
Brands are responsible for designing their own packaging; TerraCycle consults on the packaging development process and tests all packaging for cleanability and durability prior to approval in the platform. The lifespan of each package will vary, as variables including aesthetics can cause a package to be taken out of circulation and recycled.   “We want to put an end to the current 'take-make-dispose' culture and are committed to taking big steps towards designing our products for reuse," said Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. "We’re proud to be a founding partner of Loop, which will deliver our much-loved brands in packaging which is truly circular by design.” Loop already offers hundreds of products across its two dozen partners; as partners are added, this number will constantly increase.