Posts with term Tesco X

Loop’s launch brings reusable packaging to the world’s biggest brands

https://www.greenbiz.com/sites/default/files/styles/gbz_article_primary_breakpoints_kalapicture_screen-md_1x/public/images/articles/featured/loop-group-shot.jpg?itok=MaHS8yFF&timestamp=1548016584 A new initiative by a small company has compelled more than two dozen of the world’s biggest brands to begin testing reusable packaging. Loop, launched today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has amassed a blue-chip roster of companies, all of which are piloting a new system of high-quality packaging that can be returned and refilled again and again. In essence, it changes the ownership model of packaging from consumer to producer. The big question is, will consumers buy into it? Today’s launch is the product of more than a year’s work by TerraCycle, the Trenton, New Jersey-based company that made a name for itself by turning hard-to-recycle waste (think juice boxes, coffee capsules, plastic gloves and cigarette filters) into new products. Along the way, the company, founded in 2001, has partnered with major consumer brands, retailers, manufacturers, municipalities and small businesses in more than 20 countries. Loop is the natural progression of that model, as well as the corporate relationships TerraCycle developed over the years. Its Loop partners include Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Mondelēz, Danone and a dozen or so smaller brands. European retailer Carrefour, logistics company UPS and resource management company Suez are also engaged in the system. The service will launch this spring in two markets: Ile-de-France, the region in north-central France surrounding Paris; and the New York region, which includes parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Initially, about 300 products will be available in durable, reusable containers, many created especially for Loop. "The key thesis statement is we can't just recycle our way out of the garbage crisis," Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s CEO and co-founder, explained to me recently. "We need foundational changes. Our version of the foundational change is: How do we solve for disposability at the root cause, while matching the benefits?" Loop brings back the old 'milkman model,' where products are delivered to your door at the same time empties are picked up, washed, refilled and readied for delivery to another customer. Simply put, Loop brings back the old "milkman model," where products are delivered to customers at the same time empties are picked up, washed, refilled and restocked for delivery to another customer. The customer gets the product but the company owns the package. The reality is somewhat more complex. Loop initially will be an e-commerce play. Consumers can order goods from the Loop website or that of a partner and have them delivered like traditional products ordered online. But there’s a twist: Customers pay a small deposit for a package that has been designed for 100 or more use-cycles. When the container is empty, customers place it in a specially designed tote for pickup or, in some cases, can bring it to a retailer. They can choose whether they want that product replenished; if not, their deposit is returned or credited to their account. The empties are sent to a facility where they are washed and refilled. The entire process is handled by TerraCycle, from sale and delivery to package return and cleaning. In effect, TerraCycle is the online retailer, buying wholesale and selling retail. The package remains the property of the brand. Eventually, Loop will expand to include brick-and-mortar retailers — Carrefour and Tesco in Europe have signed on and expect to introduce Loop products in their stores later this year; a U.S. retail partner hasn’t yet been named. In that in-store version, consumers can bring empties back in a QR-embedded container provided by Loop. Scratching a niche The rebirth of reuse has been long coming. Since the dawn of the recycling movement about 30 years ago, companies have tried a number of schemes to enable consumers to use packaging over and over. One plan featured small packets of concentrated liquids used to refill a bottle of household cleaner — just add water to the concentrate and, voilá, a full bottle of a brand-name product. Another approach, refill stores, emerged in cities in Europe and North America, enabling consumers to bring their own container to buy bulk goods. Refill stations also are in traditional supermarkets and in some personal care retailers. But none of these has caught on beyond a tiny niche. Consumers, outside of a precious few hardcore greenies, don’t really want to be inconvenienced, much as they may be seeking to avoid wasteful practices. Loop’s approach seeks to overcome those obstacles. The key, said Szaky, is trying to mimic the way consumers already buy, use and dispose of packaging. We realized that recycling and using recycled content is about trying to do the best you can with waste, but it's not solving the foundational reason we have waste. "We realized that recycling and using recycled content is about trying to do the best you can with waste, but it's not solving the foundational reason we have waste. We did a lot of reflection on that and realized that the foundational cause of garbage is disposability and single-use. We tried to come up with a way to solve for disposability but maintain the virtues of disposability, which are convenience and affordability." https://www.greenbiz.com/sites/default/files/styles/gbz_article_full/public/media-inline/infographic_horizontal_white.jpg?itok=Tnr4VpBZ Szaky explained that his goal with Loop was to make the system simple and familiar. "You get a box at your door with your stuff in it. Though it's better, because your box is durable, and you don't have to worry about recycling all that cardboard." Similarly on the back end. "We're trying to emulate the way you do your recycling at home. You take your used packages and you either put them in the recycling container or into your garbage bin. And then you lug it down to the curb and your recycling company or your garbage company takes it." With Loop, consumers put empties in a tote or other Loop-provided receptacle, which is picked up via UPS or another carrier, or dropped off at a retail partner," explains Szaky. "There's no washing, no cleaning required. Just like a disposable object, you throw it back into one of those durable shipping containers you would've received from us." Szaky envisions a "reuse bin" eventually showing up in homes alongside garbage and recycling bins. "And when we pick up, you have the option to have it set to auto-replenish, so that you can actually make your shopping even easier, because your empties trigger your re-orders." Counter-worthy Part of the magic of Loop is reusable packaging, designed in partnership with the brand owners to be not just durable, but "counter-worthy" — attractive enough to keep in plain view, in the words of Virginie Helias, vice president and chief sustainability officer at Procter & Gamble. "You want to show it to your friends." But, she adds, the appeal is not just aesthetic: "It's also the fact that it's a better premium experience for people." For P&G, that meant designing new packaging for the Loop platform. And, in some cases, inventing new products altogether. For example, the company developed a toothbrush called Click, part of the company’s Oral B line. "It's basically a new design that reduced the plastic by 60 percent because you have a durable handle which is made of composite material," explained Helias. "And there is a mechanism which we call Click Fits, which allows you to detach the head from the handle." https://www.greenbiz.com/sites/default/files/styles/gbz_article_full/public/media-inline/loop-tote1.jpg?itok=1YOfQOD0 A Loop tote for delivering products to consumers. Procter & Gamble, Loop’s biggest partner, which also owns a 2 percent stake in the enterprise, has tapped into 10 of its most iconic brands as part of the Loop launch, including Ariel, Cascade, Crest, Febreze, Gillette, Pantene, Pampers and Tide. "What was great to see was that most of our P&G categories were actually highly relevant for people in terms of having durable packaging," said Helias. Unilever, another Loop launch partner, is putting eight of its brands into the Loop platform, including Rexona, Dove and Axe deodorants; Signal toothpaste; Häagen Dazs ice cream; and Hellmann's mayonnaise. With the company’s deodorant brands, "The base of the stick packaging is now made from stainless steel. As you use the product, there's an insertable refill where you then give that back to us and then we send you a new one," explained David Blanchard, Unilever’s chief R&D officer. Like P&G’s Helias, Blanchard used the word "beautiful" repeatedly in our conversation to describe the company's various reusable packaging innovations, made from glass, aluminum, durable plastics and other materials. For example, regarding the deodorants, he said, "It's a beautifully crafted piece of packaging." Another Unilever innovation is Signal tooth tabs, an alternative to toothpaste. Essentially, it’s a small tablet of tooth powder you "chew, brush as usual, then rinse and smile," Blanchard explained. "We're creating a whole new format in a fully recyclable and refillable jar, so you get zero packaging, zero waste. It uses less water because of the way in which you simply put the product in your mouth and then clean and rinse." Will consumers buy in? No doubt, Loop is a well-designed system with a compelling offering and a powerhouse line-up of brands. But one key question remains: Will consumers buy in to reuse? It’s no small concern. Consumers — in Europe, North America, South America and Asia — repeatedly have foiled efforts by brands large and small to create products and delivery models that reduce waste, energy, water and other resources. In some cases, they believed that products were inferior or didn’t perform well. In others, the higher price was a barrier, and still others lacked the convenience of their conventional version. In many cases, consumers couldn't be bothered to change their well-worn habits. Szaky and his corporate partners believe they have thought through such pitfalls, although the Loop system hasn’t yet been tested in real-world settings. Szaky and his corporate partners seem to have thought through many of these downfalls, but the Loop system hasn’t yet been tested in real-world settings. Clearly, Loop’s big brand partners believe that their individual and combined efforts can break through. "It addresses a clearly growing expectation from people," says P&G’s Helias. "When we ask people about what's important for them, packaging now becomes intrinsically important. And the frustration with other packaging is becoming very close to other factors that we are hearing about in our studies." Unilever’s Blanchard agrees. "We think that about 25 percent of consumers today are looking to buy brands that have a more sustainable footprint or clearly have a purpose that resonates with them from a broad environmental sustainable purpose point of view. And then, there's probably another 50 percent of consumers who are then increasingly looking for brands to have that point of view or that sustainable footprint." There’s also comfort in numbers, he says. "We've looked at reuse in France. We're looking at a refill type of system in Vietnam. And we've not yet really cracked that business model. What Loop offered was the opportunity to be a part of a bigger consortium where consumers will get a much broader range of products. And therefore it gives them an opportunity to really do this with a bit more scale." Helias believes the reuse model has other benefits beyond the environmental ones. "You obviously develop a very intimate relationship with the consumer. And you build loyalty. It is all about enabling and inspiring responsible consumption, which is kind of our core agenda at P&G. And this addresses it beautifully. This is why we have so many brands excited about the idea." P&G, Unilever and the other partners will be watching the forthcoming launch closely, trying to discern what works. "I think the most important metric will be the depth of repeat," said Blanchard. "Do consumers come back to using these products time and time again? We would typically look to find at minimum a 50 percent repeat rate, so that half of those consumers over a period of time come back to use the product at least once, if not two or three times." And, of course, there are the environmental metrics. "It takes five Loop cycles of fill and reuse to be better from an environmental standpoint," said Helias. "We hope can go way beyond that but that's exactly why we are testing in market. It's to validate that assumption." Tom Szaky, for his part, is already looking ahead. "The next category, when we're ready, we want to test things like baby clothing and baby toys. We think there's a really good opportunity for this in what we call disposable durables. That's going to be a key question for us: How far and wide can this go?"

Consumer goods giants team up to launch 'zero-waste' refill service

Unilever, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and PepsiCo are among the 24 corporate co-founders of a new 'waste-free' retail platform, whereby businesses will provide product refills while retaining ownership of their reusable packaging.
image.png Loop will enable customers to buy refillable products online and have them delivered in reusable containers   The platform, called Loop and founded by recycling firm TerraCycle, will enable shoppers to purchase refillable versions of food and drink, health and beauty and cleaning products, as well as office supplies, online.   Once they have used the products, TerraCycle will collect the empty packaging from their homes for cleaning and refilling, with any damaged or end-of-life packaging sent for recycling. Transport will be undertaken by UPS’s fleet of low-carbon shipping vehicles, while waste management firm SUEZ will recycle any packaging waste.   Ahead of the unveiling of the scheme at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland today, the 24 companies taking part – P&G, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars Petcare, The Clorox Company, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola, Mondelēz International, Danone, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lesieur, BIC, Beiersdorf, RB,People Against Dirty, Nature’s Path, Thousand Fell, Greenhouse, Grilliance, Burlap & Barrel Single OriginSpices, Reinberger Nut Butter, CoZie and Preserve - have collectively designed more than 250 alternatives to their single-use packaging. Innovative products and packaging designed for Loop include double-walled aluminium ice cream tubs from Haagen Daas, metal stick deodorant holders from AXE and P&G’s stainless-steel toothbrushes with detachable, fully recyclable heads. None of the designs contain any single-use plastic components.   The Loop-certified items will be available to customers for the first time when the scheme is made live in Paris and New York City in March, with TerraCycle set to roll the concept out to an undisclosed number of additional cities by the end of 2020.   The recycling firm confirmed at the World Economic Forum in Davos today (24 January) that Tesco will pilot the UK scheme before the end of 2019. The supermarket is yet to reveal which products it will include in its refillable offering.   Speaking exclusively to edie ahead of the unveiling of Loop, TerraCycle chief executive Tom Szaky said he hoped the platform would help make reuse the most “viable and desirable” option for consumers who typically buy products in single-use packaging.   “The root cause of waste is not any one material like paper or plastic, it’s the concept of single-use, which has created a culture of disposability,” he said. “From the 1950s, disposability began to win customers over very quickly, because it brings unparalleled convenience and affordability – factors which are more important to the average person than the waste crisis.   “But by designing ever-cheaper packaging and selling it to the customer as part of their product, companies are losing money and resources while consumers are losing trust. Refill is therefore having a little bit of a resurgence at the moment, but it hasn’t yet hit the mainstream nerve. We want major retailers, brands and the general public to embrace this model.”   Recycle vs reuse The launch of Loop comes at a time when the plastics recycling industry is facing scrutiny from consumers and policymakers, largely due to China’s announcement last January that it would stop accepting 24 types of plastic waste imports. Countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Poland were initially touted as alternatives, but have since implemented import restrictions, exacerbating backlash.   At the same time, the UK’s plastic recycling industry is estimated to be costing local authorities £500,000 per year and is now facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system.   These events, compounded by research suggesting that only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled, have led several sustainability professionals and green campaign groups to tout reuse and refill as the only viable solution to the world’s plastic pollution problem. They include A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland and Reboot Innovation's director Chris Sherwin.   Despite the majority of TerraCycle’s consumer-facing schemes rely on recycling, Szaky told edie that he also sees recycling as “just one piece of the circular puzzle”. Such schemes include its UK-wide crisp packet recycling scheme, operated in partnership with Pepsico subsidiary Walkers.   “The model we are really known for is asking whether a certain object is recyclable and, if the answer is ‘no’, establishing national schemes to collect and recycle that waste stream,” he explained.   “This echoes a lot of the commitments businesses are making around resources, particularly in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation or WRAP. But in several discussions with our corporate partners, we have been asked whether this approach is enough – whether it will truly be the solution to waste.   “Recycling and using recycled material are critically important, but are, unfortunately, not the solution to the idea of waste at the root cause. It’s one thing to dig out the plastic from the ocean, but another to stop it from going into nature to begin with – you need to do both.”

CPGs and TerraCycle Launch Zero-Waste Packaging Platform

A coalition including many of the world’s largest consumer product companies, along with international recycling leader TerraCycle, today unveiled a global, first-of-its-kind, shopping system called Loop. The initiative is designed to change the world’s reliance on single-use packaging, offer a convenient and enhanced circular solution to consumers, while securing meaningful environmental benefits.
Announced at the Davos World Economic Forum, Loop will enable consumers to responsibly consume a variety of products in customized, brand specific durable packaging that is collected, leaned, refilled and reused. The content, if recoverable, will be either recycled or reused.
Terracycle CEO Tom Szaky explains the details of the Loop program in the Packaging Perspectives podcast below. 
“As a response to the global challenge in managing waste and the opportunity to improve consumers’ experience, a group of global brands, retailers and infrastructure companies, along with the World Economic Forum, have come together to create a new way to more  responsibly consume products.” says 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.”
The idea for this new shopping system was founded at the World Economic Forum by TerraCycle and consumer product companies Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, 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.
Additional partners are leading food retailer Carrefour as the founding retailer and the first to believe in Loop’s model, with leading UK retailer Tesco to pilot Loop in the U.K. later in the year; primary logistics and transportation company UPS and sustainable resource management company Suez.
“Loop is a disruptive solution led by a visionary entrepreneur,” says Laurent Vallée, general secretary of Carrefour Group. “Carrefour has a strong commitment to eliminating waste and plastic. It was a natural fit for Carrefour to commit to this great project, thus becoming the first player in the retail space to join Loop. We believe our clients are increasingly concerned with unnecessary waste and we expect them to embrace this new solution. We hope other international manufacturers and retailers will join us to adopt new standards and fight waste.”
This approach to shopping was made possible as a result of innovation investments made by the founding partners' commitment to developing more circular supply chains from package design to manufacturing through consumer use. The aim is 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 this spring in France and the northeastern United States. Additional markets are expected to launch throughout 2019 and 2020.
“At P&G, we are building on 180 years of innovation and world-class consumer insight to enable responsible consumption at scale,” says Virginie Helias, P&G vice president and chief sustainability officer. “Through leading brands such as Pantene, Tide 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. We’re proud to partner with TerraCycle as the first CPG company to be part of this transformative program, which is just one of the many ways we are delivering on our Ambition 2030 goals to accelerate sustainable innovation and drive circular solutions.”
Nestlé CEO for Zone Americas Laurent Freixe adds, “Loop provides a much-needed innovation platform, challenging companies to take a fresh look at our value chains and integrate reusable product packaging as part of our efforts to waste-reduction. It’s a critical part of our commitment to work with consumers to protect our planet for future generations.”
How Loop works:
• SHOP: Consumers will go to the Loop websites, www.loopstore.com,www.maboutiqueloop.fr or Loop partner retailer’s websites and shop for trusted brands now redesigned to be free of packaging waste.  
• RECEIVE: Consumers receive their durable products in Loop’s exclusively designed state-of-the-art shipping tote that eliminates the need for single-use shipping materials like cardboard boxes.
• ENJOY:  Consumers experience elegance and convenience all while eliminating the idea of throw-away packaging waste.
• WE PICK UP: There is no need to clean and dispose of the package; as consumers finish their products, they place the empty package into one of their Loop Totes. Loop will pick up directly from their home.
• WE CLEAN: Loop’s team of scientists has developed custom cleaning technologies so that each package may be safely reused.
• WE REFILL, RECYCLE OR REUSE: Loop promptly replenishes products as needed and returns the refilled shipping tote to the consumer. If there is recoverable used product such as diapers, pads, razors or brush parts, they will be recovered to be reused or recycled.

Global CPGs embrace transformative Loop circular shopping platform

In late February at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO of TerraCycle, Inc., unveiled what could be one of the most significant and disruptive advances in packaging to date. Along with a number of the world’s largest Consumer Packaged Goods companies and retailers, TerraCycle has created Loop™, a first-of-its-kind shopping platform that will enable consumers to responsibly consume products in customized, brand-specific, durable packaging that is collected, cleaned, refilled, and reused. The platform will launch in France and in the northeastern U.S. this spring as a pilot, offering more than 300 products in reusable packaging from such heavy-hitters as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Unilever, PepsiCo, Mondelēz International, and Danone, to name a few, as well as from smaller companies. The products will be available through the Loop e-commerce site as well as through retail partners’ e-commerce sites and brick-and-mortar locations.
The Loop platform is designed to transform the relationship between consumers and packaging, with the consumer now borrowing the package from the brand owner, much like the milkman model. Through its circular system, Loop offers the convenience of single-use packaging while at the same time removing the responsibility from the consumer of disposing the empty packaging. It gets to the root of packaging waste, rather than trying to manage waste through recycling and other methods after it’s been created. Loop is also proving to have an extraordinary effect on package design. “It’s not just about eliminating waste; it’s about enabling the future,” says Szaky. “What brands have really started to see is that this is a platform through which they can commercialize innovation in packaging that was never possible in a disposable package—it was not even conceivable.” Metal containers for Häagen-Dazs ice cream that keep contents cold, toothbrushes with removable, replaceable heads from Oral B, and a stainless-steel Clorox package that keeps wipes wetter longer are just some of the innovations created for Loop. Enhancing the consumer experience, reimagined packaging for products such as Pantene, Seventh Generation, and Crest transform the products into premium, luxury items. A vision for a world without waste For 15 years, recycling company TerraCycle has promoted and advanced the idea of a world without waste. It offers a range of free programs for the collection and recycling of hard-to-recycle materials, creating new products from the waste. Its most recent project was to establish the world’s largest supply chain for collecting and recycling ocean plastics, which are used by P&G for its Head & Shoulders haircare product bottles and its Fairy dish soap containers, as well as for packaging for Unilever’s prestige REN Clean Skincare line. While these efforts are critically important, Szaky says they are not enough to reach the goal of a world without waste. Hence, TerraCycle created Loop—a circular economy shopping platform whose time has come. “It was far less difficult than I thought it would be to get CPGs and retailers to invest in the platform,” he shares. “It’s like the world is ready for it.”
Szaky says he believes there were three factors that influenced the decision by CPGs to participate, even though it involved a complicated and expensive commitment. First was their trust in TerraCycle, built through longstanding relationships. “They knew we were not just a ‘fly-by-night’ operation,” he says. Second was the packaging crisis brought on by the issue of ocean plastics—a topic that didn’t exist three or four years ago. “People always cared about waste, but it’s more of a crisis now,” Szaky says. “And companies at their board levels are declaring it as a crisis in a way that’s never been done. In addition, there’s also a lot of legislation in the pipeline around anti-disposability [of packaging].” The third factor, as mentioned earlier, was brand owners’ realization of the functional and aesthetic innovation opportunities afforded by reusable packaging. “What packaging people love about this is that now it’s not a race to the bottom on a price per unit, which it sort of was before. It was always how to make the pack cheaper,” says Szaky. “With Loop, cost is not the primary question. The primary question is, how durable is it?” Design for reuse To enter Loop as a manufacturer, the first “rule,” Szaky explains, is that you must move to a reusable package—“that’s simply not negotiable,” he adds. Each CPG partner is responsible for their own package design, aided by guidelines and best practices developed by TerraCycle and logistics partner UPS. Through testing procedures conducted at its Package Design and Test Lab in Addison, IL, UPS identified solutions to issues related to shipping primary packaging via e-commerce. TerraCycle enumerates some of these suggestions in a design brief it provides brand owner partners when they sign on to Loop. What TerraCycle looks for in a finished package design is durability, cleanability, and a positive Life Cycle Analysis. “Those are the three things we watch for,” says Szaky. “But then everyone gets to do everything they could ever want to in a pack. You get a far greater range of design choices, because you’re not restricted to a tiny little price. So, a $1 package with 10 uses is 10 cents per use, but a $5 package with 100 uses is 5 cents per use. That’s actually pretty neat in the sense of being able to change the relationship with the economics of packaging.” The goal for a Loop package is to be able to withstand 100-plus uses, which is not such a stretch if you consider how many times a consumer might refill a reusable water bottle. “Here’s the point,” says Szaky, “once you get to 100 uses, it’s actually not that hard to get into the thousands. It’s hard to know, because we haven’t been able to prove 10,000 uses. For now, we’re aiming for 100 or more uses for every container.” The three most common types of materials being used for Loop packaging are, in order, stainless steel and aluminum, glass, and engineered plastics such as polycarbonate. So far, materials such as flexibles, disposable plastics, fibers, or leathers have not shown up in any Loop packaging. Given that the aim of Loop is zero waste, the tote in which products are delivered and empty containers are returned is also reusable. Consumer convenience Another factor that makes Loop so timely is consumers’ growing acceptance and use of e-commerce for CPG products. Loop will have its own e-commerce sites—Loopstore.com in the U.S. and maboutiquelook.fr in France—and Loop products will also be available on some CPG and retail partner websites. Retail partners such as Carrefour in France, Tesco in the U.K., and others will also be selling Loop products in their physical stores. In fact, Carrefour is so enthusiastic about the system it has put many of its private-label products into reusable packages. In the case of products ordered through e-commerce, the “loop” begins when a consumer places an order online. Their products are then delivered to their doorstep in the reusable Loop tote. When they are done with a product, the consumer places the empty package in one of the totes and alerts Loop to pick it up. (Both products ordered through Loop as well as through its partners’ sites are collected by Loop.) For staple products the consumer wants replenished immediately, the pickup triggers a new shipment. Consumers who purchase Loop products at a brick-and-mortar store can bring their empties directly back to the store. The beauty of the program at end of use is that consumers don’t have to clean or sort the empties. “It’s a completely disposable experience,” says Szaky. Sorting and cleaning is done by TerraCycle, which not only has the technology for straightforward cleaning jobs (e.g., cleaning rigid containers), but is also developing a range of technologies to handle more complex packaging components such as trigger sprayers and pumps. The company plans to have a warehousing and cleaning facility in every region in which Loop products are sold. With Loop, zero waste also means zero product waste. So when TerraCycle receives the containers for cleaning, it evaluates the leftover or used product to see if it can be recovered or recycled. Products are categorized as non-recoverable, as in the case of orange juice or window cleaner, or recoverable. “For recovery, there are two types of products,” Szaky explains. “The first is a product you can recover, but it would be unreasonable to reuse it, such as a razor blade or a toothbrush, which we then recycle. The other is a product, such as the casing of a pen, that it’s not unreasonable to reuse.” The final stage of the loop is the return of empty, clean packages to brand owners for refilling. The loop is closed when consumers receive new products. To ensure consumers return the empty packaging and the Loop totes, they pay a deposit for the items when they order the products. “This is key, since these are expensive packages,” says Szaky. “They are never owned by the consumer; the consumer borrows them. And, like anything you borrow, you put a deposit around it.” When the consumer returns the package, they receive 100% of the deposit back—no matter the shape in which they return it. TerraCycle’s view is that the durability of the package is not the consumer’s responsibility; it’s the responsibility of those who made it. Will Loop succeed? There are many reasons Loop should succeed—and in a big way. Among them, the furor over disposable, single-use packaging, the ease of e-commerce, the enhanced consumer experience allowed through higher-quality packaging, and Loop’s appeal to CPGs that are pushing to meet their own aggressive sustainable packaging goals. But will it take off? Szaky says signs are good. As more of the world’s largest CPGs join the platform, momentum is building, spurring others to join or be left behind. In just one week, he shares, SC Johnson with its Method and Ecover brands, global snacking company Pladis, and Reckitt Benckiser signed on. “And it wasn’t even a unique week,” he says. Another sign boding well for Loop is the response it has received from the 25 families in New York and the 25 in Paris that have already trialed the platform. Szaky says TerraCycle learned from these trials that once consumers start receiving their products in reusable packaging, they start getting “allergic” to disposability. “The question is, what is the tipping point?” he questions. “Do 20 percent of the products in your life have to be durable for you to say, ‘Forget disposability, I’m done.’” Compared with other strategies launched to reduce or eliminate packaging waste, such as “package-free” stores and self-dispensing systems, Loop celebrates packaging, enhancing its many functions, such as beauty, product protection, and convenience. “Packaging isn’t evil,” declares Szaky. “Neither is the idea of plastic or metal or paper. The evil, I think, is spending a lot of effort creating something awesome and then using it once and throwing it away.”

TerraCycle promises 'future of consumption' with Loop reuse system

Dozens of major brands have partnered to launch this ambitious new packaging model in the U.S. and France. TerraCycle and Suez break down how it could change the waste equation in the coming decades. After years of quiet planning and rigorous testing, TerraCycle has unveiled what it believes will be a revolutionary change in packaging: Loop. Debuted at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, the new shopping system is the first of its kind to offer hundreds of name brand products in reusable and refillable packaging. In addition, many products traditionally viewed as inefficient to process — pens, diapers, razor blades — will now be recycled for the first time in many areas. This builds on the New Jersey company's foundational business of finding value in what is considered unrecyclable — but on an entirely new level.
Designed to be more attractive and functional than common versions, these new goods will be available on a pilot basis in the U.S. and France, starting this spring. With the convenience of delivery and pick-up service via online ordering — and eventually at retail stores — Loop is being billed as a rare opportunity to wean consumers off single-use disposability. "The thesis of Loop is we want to bring about the future of consumption, and the tenet of that would be the idea that waste doesn't exist," said TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky in an interview with Waste Dive.  
PepsiCo products for the French market
Credit: Loop

A new consumer culture?

Procter & Gamble and Nestlé (both founding investors) — along with PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars Petcare, The Clorox Company, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola European Partners, Mondelēz International and Danone — are among the initial partners that have designed new packaging for Loop. Achieving this level of participation from the companies behind so many household brands was seen as essential for consumer buy-in. According to Szaky, a key component is elevating the experience of reusable shopping (beyond its current niche version of bringing mason jars and cloth bags to a local bulk store) through added convenience and an element of "luxury." Prices are expected to be comparable to current options aside from a refundable deposit, and many containers are made from glass, stainless steel or durable plastic. Some, such as a new Häagen-Dazs container, will even keep products frozen or fresh for longer. As envisioned, this system will start out as a delivery/pick-up service — something Szaky has previously described as akin to the old "milkman" model. UPS will deliver the products in reusable shipping bags, and once consumers are done, transport the bags to a regional cleaning facility, where containers will be sanitized and products recycled. This is said to be the first time feminine care products and diapers will be recycled in France, and the first time for razor blades in the U.S. "There are some big firsts baked into Loop, and that's really using a lot of TerraCycle's original competency. If it's reasonable to recover and reasonable to reuse, then it must be reused, is the rule," said Szaky.
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The pilot program is expected to launch this spring in the Paris metro area and the New York City area – including parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. French retailer Carrefour has signed on as a partner, and a U.S. retailer is in the works. While the initial list of participating companies have had to make upfront investments in new packaging design (though on a limited scale to start), the ability to meet both consumer demands and sustainability targets is seen as worth the price of admission. A spokesperson for the French unit of Coca-Cola European Partner (CCEP) told Waste Dive it sees a way to expand existing refillable glass bottle sales and "bring this unique experience directly to consumers at home in line with a no waste vision and our sustainability strategy." Loop is considered a clear fit for CCEP's "This Is Forward" plan — part of Coca-Cola's broader "World Without Waste" initiative  to ensure all packaging is recyclable and fully recovered by 2025. Other major partners — including Procter & GambleNestléPepsiCoUnilever and Mondelēz International — have set their own future sustainability targets or made financial commitments to recycling initiatives in recent years. While these pledges have often been met with skepticism from major environmental groups, it's possible this Loop announcement may be perceived differently. Szaky noted that eight of the 10 companies on a 2018 Greenpeace list of the most commonly found brands in ocean clean-ups are Loop partners — a potential signal of their willingness to take more ownership over plastic pollution. Greenpeace itself is also participating in the Davos launch event.  
Preserve reusable dishware and refillable containers for U.S. market
Credit: Loop

A world without "garbage"

Loop might be an easier fit for regulatory trends in European countries that encourage more recycling (though it will be exempt from extended producer responsibility rules), but it could prove a greater shock to the U.S. system if scaled successfully. The most directly affected parties will be packaging manufacturers — glass, for instance, might see more demand, while single-use plastic demand could decline. The potential decrease in tonnage for both waste and recycling collections also raises questions of what Loop will mean for the U.S. waste and recycling industry itself. "I'd say at the very beginning, if I was working over at Republic or Waste Management or even Waste Connections (Waste Connections owns a quarter of our Canadian company) I think they wouldn't even see this as a threat because it would seem super small compared to what is in the dumpster," said Szaky. "The real question is 10, 20, 30 years from now, if durable, reusable, repairable, that type of movement really hits scale — and I think Loop could be one of the vehicles that accomplish that — then you may see an effect on the loads, and unless you get involved in that, then you would see it competitively." Last year, Waste Connections CEO Ron Mittelstaedt told Waste Dive he believes "reuse is the pathway that will help diversion by non-generation" in future decades, although he didn't directly mention TerraCycle. No U.S. waste and recycling industry companies have invested in Loop to date. Suez, the France multinational that has a stake in TerraCycle's European operations, invested 4% in Loop. The company also partnered with Procter & Gamble and TerraCycle to launch a shampoo bottle made of ocean plastic at Davos in 2017. Jean-Marc Boursier, senior executive vice president of recycling and recovery at Suez's Northern Europe division, feels the concept fits into his company's view that increasing waste volumes can't be the primary corporate growth metric. According to Boursier, rising GDP, industrial activity and population growth should all be considered signs of a healthy economy — but that doesn't necessarily have to translate to more waste. "The question is, can we optimize waste production, and do we need to still dump everything into a very large landfill?" said Boursier, referring to the U.S. market. "Or, shall we consider waste as not only a nuisance, but as a product that we could transform into something more valuable?" Boursier declined to offer any direct advice on how U.S. service providers that still derive a significant portion of their revenue from landfills could adapt to such a model. Speaking about companies in general, he offered this outlook: "Either you enter — if you have an industrial company — into this world of circular economy with a negative view, where you believe that it is a constraint and it might have some increased costs at first glance. In which case you will be very reluctant to change the world — and we need to change our way if we are going to protect the planet," he said. "Or you take the lead and you try to differentiate yourself positively." Boursier sees Loop as a way for big brands to do that, adding that while it's too soon to know the full potential, "I believe it can change the world."  
TerraCycle headquarters in Trenton, New Jersey
Credit: TerraCycle

Next steps

After the first two pilots launch this spring, Loop is expected to expand into the London area in late 2019 with retailer Tesco. Toronto, California and Tokyo — in conjunction with the 2020 Summer Olympics — are on tap for next year. According to Bloomberg, the company has invested an estimated $10 million in this concept. Asked how he sees this growing as part of TerraCycle's business, Szaky noted that the timeframe might be long, but the change will be apparent when the company's market share in a given area shifts away recycling disposable products to durable ones. Based on life-cycle assessments, consumers will need to reorder products upward of five times for the environmental effects to even out. Watching how many repeat participants Loop can attract, and at what scale, will be key to tracking its progress. In the meantime, Szaky is also still looking for acquisition opportunities in specialized waste streams — such as the 2018 purchase of light bulb recycler Air Cycle — and remains open to a scenario in which TerraCycle's core business of recycling challenging materials shrinks as Loop grows. When asked if the long-term plan was to still file for an IPO once the company approached $70 million in revenue, Szaky replied: "It absolutely is, and Loop just helps us get there faster."