A Segré (Maine-et-Loire), lotissement de la Miochaie, Yoann et Sandrine Xavier ont créé un point de collecte pour les capsules de café. Une initiative accessible à tous.
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TerraCycle Include USA Nestle UPS Procter & Gamble Carrefour Loop The Body Shop Kroger Soapply Burger King Tim Hortons Colisweb DPD Purina
TerraCycle’s milkman-like delivery model, Loop, expands online and at brick-and-mortar locations. Kate Bertrand Connolly 1 | Nov 04, 2020 Following a successful pilot program that started in 2019, the Loop circular shopping platform from TerraCycle has expanded its online operation to provide an unlimited number of US consumers from coast to coast with home delivery of products packed in reusable packaging, as well as pickup of the empty packages. Loop also made its brick-and-mortar debut recently, in France. “Carrefour just brought Loop into its first store,” says Eric Rosen, publicist, US public relations, for Loop/TerraCycle. “We anticipate Loop being in-store in other retailers in 2021.” Carrefour’s online Loop service launched in Paris last year. Following a successful pilot program that started in 2019, the Loop circular shopping platform from TerraCycle has expanded its online operation to provide an unlimited number of US consumers from coast to coast with home delivery of products packed in reusable packaging, as well as pickup of the empty packages. Loop also made its brick-and-mortar debut recently, in France. “Carrefour just brought Loop into its first store,” says Eric Rosen, publicist, US public relations, for Loop/TerraCycle. “We anticipate Loop being in-store in other retailers in 2021.” Carrefour’s online Loop service launched in Paris last year. In the United States, consumers will find Loop products at Kroger stores starting in 2021. Also in North America, Burger King and Tim Hortons restaurants plan to launch Loop pilot projects next year. Loop’s online scale-up coincides with an explosion in internet shopping and home delivery fueled by the COVID-19 virus, though it’s also a natural next step considering the success of the pilot program. More than 100,000 people have signed up for the service to date. With the online version of Loop, consumers buy products that have been filled into reusable packaging made, for example, of metal or glass. They then return the empty packages to Loop, which cleans the packages for refilling by Loop’s brand partners. Loop packs consumer orders into reusable totes for delivery, and consumers return the empty packaging to Loop using the same totes. Loop products are packed and shipped from the company’s New Jersey warehouse to all US ZIP codes. (Frozen products are only shipped to locations where delivery can be made within 24 hours.) The platform launched in 2019 as a pilot program in the Mid-Atlantic United States and Paris, France. In July 2020, Loop launched online in the United Kingdom, working in partnership with retailer Tesco. A Canadian online launch is planned for Toronto in February 2021. Loop has expanded rapidly vis-à-vis brand partners and product selection, now offering more than 80 brands and 400 products in the United States and Europe. Product categories include grocery, beauty, health and personal care, and household essentials. Brand owners range from giants like Nestlé and Procter & Gamble to start-ups like Soapply. Next year will be an important one for Loop in brick-and-mortar restaurants and stores. Burger King plans to start a pilot Loop program in 2021 that will offer eat-in and to-go customers sandwiches and drinks packed in returnable, reusable food containers and cups. Consumers who choose the reusable packaging will pay a deposit when they place their order and get the deposit back after returning the packaging to Burger King. The pilot will start in select Burger King restaurants in New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Tokyo, with additional cities to join in the months that follow. Canada’s Tim Hortons quick-service restaurant chain has announced a similar Loop pilot. The program will start in 2021 at select Tim Hortons restaurants in Toronto. Also starting next year, US consumers will be able to visit Loop in-store at select Kroger locations. The plan for Loop in brick-and-mortar stores is not only to sell Loop products but also to collect the empty packaging for cleaning and reuse. Loop publicist Rosen discusses the program’s burgeoning expansion, both online and in-store, in this exclusive Packaging Digest Q&A. How many brick-and-mortar retailers in the United States will be selling Loop products in 2021? Is this a channel Loop is interested in exploring further? What have consumers said about their willingness (or not) to take empty packages back to a physical store? Rosen: As of now, in the United States, there will be one brick-and-mortar retailer, Kroger, selling Loop products in-store in 2021. There are, however, many retailers who are and will be integrating Loop into their ecommerce platforms. Yes, [in-store] is a channel Loop is pursuing and will continue to pursue. In fact, Loop just opened in its first brick-and-mortar retailer — Carrefour in France. As for consumers’ willingness to take empties back to a physical store, while we haven’t surveyed consumers, we believe returning empty packaging will be embraced. When will Loop be expanding into additional markets in Europe and Asia, either online or via brick-and-mortar stores? Rosen: Loop will be launching in Canada, Australia, and Japan in 2021. We will continue to seek opportunities to launch in other countries and will be announcing more as we solidify plans. How will Loop, brand owners, and/or retailers educate consumers about how in-store Loop works and its benefits? Rosen: Loop, brand owners, and retailers educate consumers through websites, social media, and earned media placements in outlets worldwide.
Now that the Loop program is national in the United States, how many locations are cleaning the empty, returned packages?Rosen: In the United States, the cleaning facility is in Pennsylvania. We will be adding facilities as we scale.
What, if anything, has changed in the logistics of the Loop program (outgoing and incoming packages)? What, if anything, has changed with the lifecycle analysis of the packages sold in the Loop program because of the additional distances?Rosen: Nothing has changed in the logistics. Based on Loop’s third-party lifecycle analysis, creating a durable (or “reusable”) container uses more energy and resources than creating a disposable (or “single-use”) container. However, over time, the reusable container has a lower environmental and economic cost, as it does not need to be remanufactured on every use. Instead, it is transported and cleaned, which is a much lower environmental cost. According to Loop, the efficiency of a reusable package in Loop is even more evident as consumers participate repeatedly. After two to three uses of the packaging, the environmental impact is breakeven. By 10 uses, there is a more than 35% reduction in environmental impacts.
Are all products still being shipped to consumers from Loop’s New Jersey warehouse? Is that still the plan moving forward, to have just one warehouse?Rosen: Loop’s New Jersey warehouse ships all products in the United States. As we scale, we intend to have additional warehousing in other parts of the country. The Loop warehouse in France is in Lille, and the one in the United Kingdom is in Crick.
How well are the durable packages holding up to use, cleaning, and reuse? Are the brands getting the number of uses they hoped they would?Rosen: The durable packaging is holding up well as it goes through Loop cycles. I can’t comment on the brands, and what their expectations were/are.
Is UPS still Loop’s only partner for deliveries/pickups? Are there any plans for additional delivery services to be involved, especially as volumes and delivery areas are growing?Rosen: Yes, Loop’s US logistics partner is UPS. In France, it’s Colisweb, and in the UK, it’s DPD. There are no plans for additional delivery services to be involved.
The allergen warning on the Loop website states: “Please note that the Loop Tote is packed in a facility that may have handled wheat, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, and soy, and may contain traces of the same. If you or someone in your family has a serious food allergy, Loop may not be for you.” Are there any plans to address this, so people can safely order Loop products without worry from allergens?Rosen: There are no current plans to address this.
Who designs the Loop packages?Rosen: Each brand partner is responsible for the design of its packaging. All packaging must be approved by Loop.
What is the size range of Loop packages?Rosen: The smallest container is 20 ml (less than an ounce) for Tea Tree Oil from The Body Shop. The biggest package is an 8-lb container for kitty litter from Purina.
How have consumers reacted to Loop since its launch last year?Rosen: We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to Loop since its launch. In fact, meeting consumer demand is what led to the rapid expansion — from 10 states to every ZIP code in the contiguous 48 states. We have more than 100,000 sign-ups, and that continues to grow.
"When COVID hit ... what scared me honestly was the deluge of reporters calling saying, 'Should we write off the idea of reuse in an age of contagion?'" he recalled during a panel at the Circularity 20 conference in May. Journalists were referring to the slashing of reuse-refill and "zero waste" initiatives taking place across the corporate world. This, combined with cautionary messaging from the plastics industry, contributed to a narrative that reusable systems — a fledgling industry born out of the desire to avoid disposable products and packaging — may be a risky business. Szaky argues, however, that rather than being a threat to the new reuse economy, the pandemic has ushered in an opportunity to professionalize its services. Launched over a year ago to much hype, the Loop concept — still in its trial phase, but partnering with some of the world's largest CPG companies — has been leading the way in terms of reusable, refillable packaging as a niche business opportunity for the grocery and retail sectors. The last several months have seen not less, but more usage of the Loop service and, as a result, Szaky has pointed to it as a hopeful example for what the post-pandemic future of reuse could look like. Loop's strict cleaning protocols, he says, should quell any fears about contamination and its online portal allows consumers to shop from the safety of home. These features may offer a solution to some of the risks associated with reusable circularity that brands and retailers worry about moving forward. As the world rebuilds in the wake of the pandemic, Szaky and others in the reuse sector are hoping to shift from a movement centered around DIY, consumer-led programs to one more suitable to industrial applications. This may even come in the form of tighter regulations around reusable systems overall. But some say while raising the profile of these systems is a good thing the industry should be careful about narrowing down to market-driven solutions too quickly. Loop, after all, is still an experiment.
TerraCycle pepsico Include USA Nestle Unilever UPS Procter & Gamble Tide Loop Clorox Häagen-Dazs
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, local governments and big companies quickly changed their tune on reducing single-use plastics. They started prohibiting cloth totes in grocery stores and rejecting reusable coffee mugs at cafes. They embraced disposables once again, seeing them as the safer, more hygienic option.
Maine delayed its plastic bag ban from April 2020 to January of next year. San Francisco in March instructed businesses to bar customers from using their own bags, mugs or other reusable items in order to promote social distancing. Meanwhile, Starbucks (SBUX) stopped allowing people to use their own mugs, and McDonald's (MCD) decided to close self-serve soda fountains as it reopens its doors.
For Loop, a shopping service that sells items from Häagen-Dazs ice cream to Tide laundry detergent in reusable packages rather than the single-use containers that normally hold the products, consumer fears around reuse could pose an existential threat. But instead of retreating during the pandemic, the project has reported sudden increases in sales and is about to expand in a big way. Loop, which launched as a pilot last year in the Northeastern US and Paris, is planning to expand to the 48 contiguous states by July 1.
TerraCycle pepsico coca cola Mars Include USA Nestle Unilever UPS Procter & Gamble Walgreens Loop Clorox Häagen-Dazs Kroger
While there’s no scientific evidence to support this claim, there’s a widely shared consensus that most people eat ice cream directly out of the container. While a seemingly unimportant detail in the production of this popular dessert, for Nestlé, it was one of the most critical considerations as it planned out a new, radical design for its Häagen-Dazs ice cream brand. In January of 2019, Nestlé announced a partnership with TerraCycle, a global recycling organization that was rolling out a first-of-its-kind home delivery service called Loop. TerraCycle, known for its mission to eliminate waste by creating new products from the collection of hard-to-recycle materials, has been around for two decades. Last year, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky unveiled Loop, a shopping platform that will enable people to consume products in customized, brand-specific, durable packaging that is collected, cleaned, and refilled. As the world shines a spotlight on sustainability initiatives that factor in recycling single-use packaging, Loop takes the eco-friendly, green model to the next level by introducing reusable containers. And some of the biggest food and beverage and consumer package goods (CPG) companies including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Mars, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, and more, were onboard for the pilot program that launched last year. For its part, Nestlé joined Loop as it committed to expanding its global efforts to develop new packaging designs that minimize the impact on the environment, noting that by 2025 the company plans to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable. As part of the Loop pilot program, Häagen-Dazs ice cream was delivered in a reusable, stainless-steel, double-walled ice cream container, which keeps product fresh and cold while maintaining the pint at a comfortable temperature for the person eating the ice cream straight from the container. The design also enables the ice cream to melt quicker at the top, and its rounded edges means the last spoonful doesn’t get stuck in the corners of the container. “The package design process was a critical part of the entire Loop process,” said Steve Yeh, a project manager at Häagen-Dazs. “It’s not just about making a reusable container, it’s also about creating a high-touch consumer experience.” According to Yeh, the Häagen-Dazs package went through a total of 15 iterations before it finally launched. “Nestlé committed major resources to design and develop the original package.” The team also worked closely with Loop on developing breakthrough cooling technology for the Loop Tote, which the ice cream container is delivered in via UPS. Terracycle officials admit there is a cost to manufacturing partners committing to Loop—from the investment in new durable packaging to the design of the product to the time spent understanding how to handle new packaging lines and how to scale to meet demand. But the reality today is that sustainability efforts are here to stay. And any new endeavor is going to require an upfront investment. According to a new business intelligence report from PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (and Automation World parent company), packaging sustainability has moved beyond a trend and is now a global shift. Released in March 2020, the report, “Packaging Sustainability: A Changing Landscape,” reveals how sustainable packaging initiatives at CPGs are affecting machines, materials, and packaging formats. The report states that the global sustainable packaging market reported that total value of revenue was estimated at $220 billion in 2018 and is predicted to reach $280 billion in 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 6%. The report is based on information collected from 100 sources and 60 interviews. The majority of the CPGs interviewed are looking to switch to lighter weight, recyclable, and sustainable materials to reduce waste. About 36% of the CPGs interviewed are exploring the circular model of reuse/return/refill. The circular economy For decades consumers have been participating in the “throwaway lifestyle,” where single-use products are disposed of resulting in massive amounts of waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the total generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2017 was 267.8 million tons or 4.51 pounds per person per day. Of the MSW generated, more than 94 million tons of MSW were recycled and composted, equivalent to a 35.2% recycling and composting rate. In other words, we don’t have a good track record for recycling. TerraCycle thought there must be another way—which is Loop. “The genesis of Loop is a tighter, closed-loop system that has manufacturers taking back ownership of their packaging,” said Ben Weir, Loops’ business development manager for North America. “It’s bringing about the reusability of packaging in something that is durable and long-lasting and that can be cleaned and used hundreds of times.” It’s not a new concept, but rather a throwback to the milkman model in which consumers returned the glass containers. What’s new is the aesthetic benefits that will drive consumer brand perception—and, while not obvious at first—it is a better economic model for the manufacturer. “The concept of a circular economy is an economic model, not a sustainability framework,” said Tim Debus, president and CEO of the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA). “By decoupling growth from the consumption of finite resources, maintaining product values at their highest, and building market resilience to source material disruptions. It is estimated that the circular economy offers $4.5 trillion of value from new growth and innovation opportunities, and the world today is only 8.6% circular.” There is an enormous opportunity, but manufacturers may hesitate due to the upfront investment related to packaging design and retooling machinery. According to Nestlé’s Yeh, the company used its Bakersfield, Calif., facility to ramp up its production of ice cream in reusable and durable containers for the Loop pilot project. “We decided to retrofit an existing line to support the platform versus investing in a new line. It was not an easy changeover and required some reengineering. Some of the changes involved installing more modern equipment including better code daters and more modern metal detection.” Yeh said they also incorporated improvements to existing processes, which requires additional staff to handle the containers. “Once the platform expands, we would then visit a fully automated system.”
Automating the Loop The Loop circular platform works like this: Consumers buy a product online through the Loop store or at a retail location—Nestlé will offer Loop containers in more than 200 Häagen-Dazs shops across the U.S. this year, and Kroger and Walgreens have partnered with Loop to offer products in retail stores later this year. The customer pays a small, fully refundable one-time deposit to “borrow” the package. The delivery is then scheduled online when the customer checks out and pays for shipping to have the Loop Tote filled with product delivered, via UPS, to the customer’s doorstep. When the containers are empty, the consumer puts it back into the Loop Tote and schedules a pick-up. The containers are sent to a Loop facility to be cleaned using state-of-the art cleaning technology and are then sent back to the manufacturer to be refilled. If a consumer purchases ice cream through the Loop subscription, for example, Nestlé fills the sanitized steel container in its Bakersfield, Calif., facility and ships it back to TerraCycle to fulfill the e-commerce orders. Loop is operating the entire supply chain to ease the burden on partners, Weir said, but right now the circular Loop is a largely manual process. “There is tremendous opportunity for technology advancements to be made whether it is IoT (Internet of Things) or [other] levels of traceability in the system, there is definitely opportunity there,” he said. RPA’s Debus agreed, noting that the ability to put some kind of tracking technology on an individual package could become a vehicle for inventory management (where the product is), predictive analytics (when the container will come back), and monitoring for quality control, traceability, and recall capabilities. A lot of the tracking technology available today, such as RFID tags, are outfitted on large pallets or containers used in transporting products, but there are new offerings available now that provide real-time visibility of returnable assets without building out an RFID infrastructure. Roambee, for example, provides an “infrastructure-less sensing platform,” called the Honeycomb IoT Application Programming Interface (API) Platform, that uses Bluetooth, a cellular network, or ultra-low power radios to send data directly to the cloud where it can be analyzed. Of course, it may not make sense to equip every container of Häagen-Dazs with a sensor, and that doesn’t have to happen. “We don’t do 100% tagging, but we do 100% extrapolation of data,” said Vidya Subramanian, Roambee co-founder and vice president of products, noting that it does not have to be a sensor. The tracking method could be as simple as a QR code. “Location helps derive context. If it’s at a cleaning facility you can extrapolate that location to action, like it is available for filling. We take location and assign context to it.” The Honeycomb platform does three things: drive compliance of expected action, drive performance in terms of velocity and movement, and keeps the brand secure—making sure that the product has not been compromised in the chain of custody. Preparing the packaging line Of course, before CPGs can even think about tracking containers, they must first think about switching over lines to accommodate new kinds of packaging—be it durable goods or light-weight materials. According to Rich Carpenter, general manager of product development at Emerson Automation Solutions, three things have to come together to enable trouble-free line changeovers. “The manufacturer has to buy in to modular manufacturing and demand it from their suppliers. The control suppliers have to embrace plug-and-play technology so that when the system arrives on site it can easily plug into whatever automation is there be it PLC [programmable logic controller], SCADA [supervisory control and data acquisition], or DCS [distributed control system]. And the OEM has to make equipment in a way that is more reconfigurable and easier to do product changeovers so as needs change the equipment can adapt to it.”
These things are starting to converge, and, as PMMI’s Packaging Sustainability report points out, there is a real opportunity for machine builders to be proactive now to help manufacturers meet their sustainability packaging goals. Loop is one option for manufacturers trying to make good on sustainability promises. And it seems to be catching on. “We’ve moved from 25 global brands to 150 global brands in a year’s time,” Weir said. “And the idea of an elevated offering is resonating with the consumer.” Manufacturers, too, are thinking about how Loop can be applied upstream, as well. “Working with TerraCycle has challenged our way of thinking across the board,” Nestlé’s Yeh said. “We are currently exploring new avenues to reduce our own single-use packaging across our supply chain. For example, we’re working more closely with our suppliers to receive our ice cream ingredients in reusable containers.”
pepsico Include USA Nestle Unilever P&G UPS Walgreens Loop Nature’s Path Greenhouse Clorox Tropicana Häagen-Dazs Kroger Chameleon Cold Brew Puretto Purely Elizabeth
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many high-profile sustainability initiatives have taken a back seat to single-use packaging, with many grocery stores banning reusable bags and Starbucks no longer accepting refillable mugs. Despite this, Loop is going all in on reusable packaging, launching its waste-free CPG delivery platform nationwide through retailers Walgreens and Kroger with heavyweight brand partners including PepsiCo, Nestlé and Unilever. Loop, which launched a pilot last spring in New York and Paris, sells products like Nature’s Path granola and Haagen Dazs ice cream, with products from beverage brands like Chameleon Cold Brew and Tropicana currently in development. It also offers household and personal care items from companies like Procter & Gamble and The Clorox Company. The products are offered in reusable jars and containers delivered to consumers in a reusable tote, and when the containers are empty, consumers pack them up in the tote and schedule a pickup with partner UPS, who sends them to be cleaned and sterilized. If consumers have a subscription (about 30% of Loop users do), returning a container triggers the purchase of a new item to be sent. Non-subscribers put down a small deposit on the container and get it back when it’s returned. “Loop tries as best as it can to emulate the convenience of disposability to make it feel like a disposable system,” said Loop CEO Tom Szaky, who is also CEO of parent company TerraCycle. The worries surrounding reusability that have arisen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic haven’t seemed to apply to Loop, said Szaky, though they have been experiencing similar supply chain backups as other food and beverage companies. Though the nationwide online launch with Walgreens and Kroger was already in the works, it’s actually been accelerated to early this summer as more consumers have shifted to purchasing products online. “It’s not that single use is safe or unsafe, it’s not like reusable is safe or unsafe, it’s how you deploy those ideas that makes it safe or unsafe,” he said. “It’s the systems behind it that govern safety.” TerraCycle’s larger mission is to “eliminate the idea of waste,” said Szaky, through collecting and recycling materials that are not traditionally recyclable, like toothbrushes and candy wrappers, and also integrating waste back into products, like using ocean plastic in a Head & Shoulders bottle. With Loop, Szaky has taken the goal of waste elimination one step further, starting a division that “tries to solve waste without it ever occurring.” The root cause of waste is using things once, but single-use packaging hasn’t always been the norm, said Szaky, with milk bottles delivered by a milkman being a prime example. In fact, it only rose to prominence in the mid-1900s as packaging moved from being the property of the manufacturer to property of the consumer. “Do you want to own a coffee cup when there’s no coffee in it, or own a toothpaste tube when there’s no toothpaste in it?” said Szaky. “Why should we?” Owning the packaging comes at the price of the consumer, and as packaging is made cheaper, it’s usually made less recyclable. To address this problem, Loop partners with CPG companies to create reusable versions of their products that lower their carbon footprint, in a concept that Szaky said is “sort of like the idea of organic but instead of caring about farming practices, we care about reusability.” According to Szaky, brands are motivated to join Loop for two reasons: they get to innovate in ways they never have before, and they’re able to upgrade their sustainability. Once brands partner with Loop (and pay an onboarding fee), the company works with them to support the creation of sustainable packaging, like stainless steel ice cream containers and glass jars for beverages and nut butter. “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,” said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé CEO for Zone Americas, in a press statement. “Nestlé is proud to be a founding investor and partner of Loop with the debut in the U.S of the Häagen-Dazs reusable container. It’s a critical part of our commitment to work with consumers to protect our planet for future generations.” Because new product development takes time, it can take from one to two years from the time brands sign on to the platform to actually begin shipping product to consumers. Szaky said of the 400 brands that have signed on, about 100 are currently shipping within the Loop system and the rest are in various stages of development. Partners like PepsiCo’s Tropicana orange juice, Purely Elizabeth granola, oatmeal and bars, Canadian brand Greenhouse’s kombucha and Nestle’s Chameleon Cold Brew are still in development. Retailers like Walgreens and Kroger are first launching Loop stores digitally, offering a selection of Loop products on their respective websites, before brick-and-mortar rollouts this fall where Loop will have its own section in the stores. Loop will also be rolling out in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Japan. The company has also created its own private label brand, Puretto, to test consumer interest. Puretto items, which include products like cheddar crackers, pretzels and bagel chips, are usually sold for six to 12 months, long enough to show proof of concept, and indicate that a national brand is considering developing a product for the category. While individual companies, not Loop, ultimately set the price for items, Szaky said prices are typically kept close to that of the original product. In a time when certain products like baking ingredients or cleaning wipes are seeing online surges, there hasn’t been a push for one particular item on Loop. According to Szaky, products typically don’t perform “better or worse” on the platform. “If you buy a certain ecosystem of products and you like the idea of reusable, you’re buying that same ecosystem of products, but now in reusable,” he said.
Are you thinking about shopping with home delivery during the lockdown? You need to know Loop, the home grocery delivery service that picks up and recycles what you buy when you are done. Earth911 talks with Benjamin Weir, North American business development manager at Loop. Launched by TerraCycle, the innovative recycling company, Loopstore.com currently offers 173 food and personal care products to customers in the U.S. Northeast and in France. Like the traditional milkman, Loop drops off and picks up product packaging. The packages are cleaned and reused by TerraCycle. No mess, lots less recycling hassle. Loop has developed new returnable and reusable packaging for products that include a steel Häagen-Dazs ice cream pint, Tide purclean detergent, and Love Beauty Planet personal care products. Customers receive their orders in an insulated tote bag, which is picked up when full by UPS and returned to TerraCycle. Weir explains that customers typically have two totes “in motion.” The company will expand service in the U.S. and Europe during 2020; it also is working to expand its product selection. We also discuss how Loop is working with its partners to reduce customer and worker exposure to potential coronavirus infection.
A couple of years ago, luxury retailer Nordstrom collected data from its customers to get a better sense of their actions and sentiments about circularity, shopping and its impact on the environment. Seventy percent of those surveyed said they would drop off items for resale or donation, and 35 percent said they worried about the environmental impact of the clothing they owned. Nordstrom used these data points and others to inform its sustainability efforts. "We’re seeing circularity as an opportunity as well as an impact area for us to think about," said Chelsea Evans, sustainability lead at Nordstrom, during this week's GreenBiz Group webcast about how retailers can embrace the circular economy. (You can watch the discussion on demand by signing up here.) There is no one perfect approach for a retailer to embrace circular business models or practices. There’s also no one way to prove the return on investment that comes from shifting to this mode of doing business. But there are plenty of compelling reasons to explore it — from doing less damage to the environment to meeting consumers’ growing desires to support businesses that are sustainable. We’re seeing circularity as an opportunity as well as an impact area for us to think about. In Nordstrom’s case, the retailer is using several approaches to embed circularity into its business model. One way it is doing so is by driving demand for products that are made or sourced from recycled materials. It is also getting everyone — including consumers — "on the same page with language" about what it means for a garment to be made of recycled materials. For example, when a company says a piece of apparel is made from recycled plastic bottles, what that really means is that the garment is made from recycled polyester. The retailer has created a section on its site to help customers filter through products that are sustainably sourced. As part of this resource, it includes brands that use at least 50 percent sustainably sourced materials — organic cotton, recycled polyester and materials that are Fair Trade Certified. The decision to create this guide was informed by the 59 percent of customers that said their purchasing decisions had been influenced by information about a company’s social or environmental policies, Evans said. Additionally, Nordstrom recently has launched a recommerce shop through a partnership with Trove (formerly Yerdle) where it takes back products and refurbishes damaged items for resale. "We’re excited to show our customers another way Nordstrom is striving to leave the world better than we found it, and circular fashion is another piece to this puzzle," said Pete Nordstrom, co-president at Nordstrom, in a statement.
Connecting circularity to emissionsRetailer IKEA, which sells an entirely different portfolio of products from Nordstrom and therefore has different needs when it comes to circularity, likewise started with the data to inform its priorities. In 2016, IKEA measured and cataloged the main source of the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to its operations. It found that more than 60 percent came from raw materials and consumer product use — at 38 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Lisa Davis, sustainability manager at IKEA, said one of the biggest challenges the company is trying to tackle is unsustainable consumption. "That brings us to how we connected those emissions to our strategy," Davis said, noting that one of IKEA's commitments is promoting circular and sustainable consumption to its customers. In 2016, IKEA collaborated with Goodwill to run a pilot take-back program in Charlotte, North Carolina, inviting customers to bring back furniture that was no longer of use to them. Workers from both organizations inspected the furniture and determined whether it would be taken to a Goodwill store to be resold or broken down and recycled. The following year, IKEA expanded the pilot to 41 stores. Davis said success for the program varied across sites, but IKEA is using its findings to inform future programs and has been working to implement circular economy principles in other parts of its business. Two places where strategies are under development: eliminating food waste and revamping its reverse logistics protocols.
The allure of reuseWalgreens is another retailer that is embracing circular economy ideals, in partnership with Loop. Loop, a shopping service created by parent company Terracycle, enables customers to buy everyday products — from deodorant to ice cream — that are packaged in reusable containers. "They’re basically operating off of the milkman model from the 1950s and a little after that but really looking at this very wide variety of products that people are using on a daily basis," said Lauren Stone, director of corporate social responsibility at Walgreens, during this week's webcast. In Loop's current, launch iteration, customers must ship back or find a UPS location to drop off the totes that are used to deliver products. Now in partnership with The Kroger Co. and Walgreens, customers will be able to drop off packaging in person at return kiosks that located are in physical stores. The launch is aimed for fall 2020 in Walgreens stores. Stone said that the Walgreens-Loop partnership will help customers who want to make more sustainable decisions about the retail products they purchase. While the concept of reuse is still novel to many people, by including exclusive, reusable options in stores, Walgreens is seeking to resolve consumer confusion while adding a layer of convenience for consumers who aren't comfortable with an entirely online experience. Don’t wait for a perfect solution because it doesn’t exist ... Take a first step in an area that is of importance to you, learn from that scenario... Walgreens acknowledges both the opportunities and challenges that come with implementing a reuse model in stores. The benefits include the chance for Walgreens to offer exclusive products and improve the sustainability of its operations, while the challenges include educating consumers about the process and making accommodations for the space that the return kiosks and merchandise will take up in stores. Each of these retailers on this week's webcast is implementing different strategies for embedding circular economy processes, and those initiatives will continue to adjust along the way. When the webinar wrapped up, each speaker offered advice to people working in other businesses thinking about embedding circularity into their work. They all echoed the line of thinking that you have to just start. "Don’t wait for a perfect solution because it doesn’t exist," Davis said. "Take a first step in an area that is of importance to you, learn from that scenario, get the data from consumers, get the results and use that to look at how you move forward."
TerraCycle pepsico Include USA Nestle Unilever Dove UPS Walgreens Tide Tesco Loop Clorox Tropicana Häagen-Dazs Gillette Kroger Loblaws Chameleon Cold Brew Hidden Valley AEON
When buying food and beverage items, consumers are looking for delicious treats and drinks, but younger consumers are also looking to enjoy products that can help the environment. The average consumer is more aware that single-use containers, often made of plastic, are negatively affecting the environment. A Consumer Brands Association report found 86% of Americans believe we are experiencing a packaging and plastic waste crisis. What are producers doing to address this crisis? CPG brands create their own sustainability solutions Most legacy food and beverage companies have set sustainability goals for their organizations. Many of those goals include increased availability of products that come in sustainable packaging. Conagra, Nestle and Unilever
all made recent pledges to increase sustainable materials in their packaging over the next five years. Conagra intends to make all of its plastic containers renewable, recyclable or compostable while Nestle and Unilever both signed the European Plastics Pact, which designates that participants are committed to boosting the recycled plastic content for single-use products and creating reusable packaging.
In California, PepsiCo is testing a better substitute for plastic rings on beverage six-packs: molded pulp and paperboard packaging. This trial demonstrates how CPG producers are working to address customer desires for sustainable packaging that still fills the durability needs of companies.
“[W]e’ve worked collaboratively with our suppliers to ensure the two solutions that we’re testing meet the needs of our consumers and customers while also addressing our functionality and sustainability requirements,” Emily Silver, PepsiCo Beverages North America’s vice president of innovation and marketing capabilities, said to BeverageDaily.
While many brands are creating their own packaging solutions or reducing their virgin plastic use, several are also investing in a broader eco-friendly packaging infrastructure. Nestle is planning to purchase roughly $1.6 billion worth of recycled plastic over the next five years, and Perrier has launched an investment program for startups that are developing packaging options that have a “positive environmental and social impact.”
Loop takes reusing to the masses
Rather than simply reducing or recycling virgin plastic, some companies are addressing waste by offering accessible, reusable packaging. Recycling business TerraCycle debuted its circular delivery service Loop to consumers in 2019, and it is currently available in Paris, France, and the northeast region of the US.
Loop’s online platform allows users to shop for consumer packaged goods products in reusable packaging from a variety of brands, which are shipped in a reusable container -- the Loop Tote -- that rids the need for single-use shipping materials.
“While disposable design focuses on making our packaging as cheap as possible, durable design focuses on making containers as long lasting as possible, allowing us to access unparalleled materials, design, and function,” the Loop site states. After using up the products, Loop customers return the empty packaging via free UPS pickup where it is returned to Loop to be cleaned and disinfected in preparation for reuse.
“Customers are demanding that brands step up and provide solutions that produce less waste,” said Loop Publicist Eric Rosen. “Brands are responding to this push by investing in sustainable packaging solutions such as Loop’s reuse model.”
The service is currently available online, but Loop products will be available in Walgreens and Kroger retail locations in the US later in 2020. Once Loop products arrive at retail, customers will also be able to make in-store returns of reusable containers instead of shipping them.
Loop’s brand partners include food brands such as Haagen Dazs, Hidden Valley, Tropicana and Chameleo n Cold Brew. The service also offers personal care and cleaning products from brands such as Gillette, Dove, Tide and Cl orox. Rosen said that Loop welcomes participation from any type or size of CPG brand as long as they are committed to transforming their packaging from single-use to multi-use.
“One challenge is redesigning packaging that lasts many reuse cycles,” Rosen said. “Brands must find the right material and design to suit their product. TerraCycle acts as a consultant for the packaging development process and tests all packaging for cleanability and durability prior to approval in the platform.”
Rosen also revealed that Loop will be expanding internationally in 2020. Loop will partner with Tesco in the UK, Loblaws in Canada and Aeon in Japan. The platform also plans to be available in Germany and Australia in 2021.
“Consumers can support brands that are taking the next step from recyclable packaging to reusable packaging,” said Rosen. “[R]ecycling is never going to be enough to solve waste at the root cause.”
They’re Fixing The World’s Plastic Problem Using ‘The Milkman’ Concept – With All Your Favorite Products
TerraCycle Include USA Dove Febreze UPS Procter & Gamble Carrefour Tide Pampers Loop Clorox Tropicana Häagen-Dazs Gillette Pantene Crest Cascade Ariel Hellmann’s
For several generations of young Americans, the idea of a ‘milkman’ is a completely foreign concept. But if you lived in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, and you were in the middle-class, you likely had a delivery truck dropping off fresh bottles of milk on your front porch—and you would leave the empties outside to be picked up. It was super convenient—and, better yet, there was no waste generated in the process. With tons of plastic containers overrunning landfills, and an innovative partnership of consumer brands emerging, the milkman idea of circulating containers is making a comeback. Loop launched in Paris and New York one year ago as a company that ships customers their favorite products packaged in reusable stainless steel or glass containers to be collected later for cleaning and refilling—just like your grandfather’s milk. They quickly expanding their operation to cover much of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region, and this month Loop will be bringing their pioneering business model to the UK, a move they hope will make them the biggest eliminator of single-use plastics in the global grocery market. They also announced plans to expand soon into Canada, Germany, and Japan. Loop teamed up with some of the biggest consumer industry giants to create eco-versions of hundreds of popular products like Tropicana, Haagen-Dazs, or Hellmann’s mayonnaise; cleaning products like Tide and Clorox wipes; and skin and hair care essentials like deodorants, from companies like Dove, Pantene, L’Oreal, and Crest. Procter & Gamble, Loop’s biggest partner, which also owns a 2 percent stake in the enterprise, tapped into 10 of its most iconic brands as part of the Loop 2019 launch, including Ariel, Cascade, Crest, Febreze, Gillette, Pantene, Pampers, and Tide, according to GreenBiz. Image by Loop Stateside, the refillable products are available at Kroger and Walgreens, in addition to the online Loop store, and they cost nearly the same as their plastic counterparts, except for the cost of a deposit. Founded by the brilliant recycling company TerraCycle, Loop plans to expand across the U.S. this year where more consumers in specific zip codes can place empties inside their Loop insulated zipper tote on the doorstep—to be picked up, washed, and reused. In France, where Loop has already partnered with Carrefour—one of the largest grocery chains in Europe, consumers pay a small deposit on the items purchased, in case the packages aren’t returned later. This includes small bottles, where a deposit might only be a few cents, or large tubs that might contain laundry soap or paper towels. 1953 photo by Ben van Meerendonk / AHF, collectie IISG, Amsterdam When asked about the hefty carbon footprint of shipping the products all over the country and then shipping them back for washing and refilling, Loop’s founder, the mastermind of Terracycle, Tom Szaky, explained that if you add up all the energy and shipping it takes to create and distribute plastic, the carbon footprint is cut in half—plus you are digging up the actual root of the plastic problem, so it can be eliminated. Furthermore, as drone delivery technology becomes more and more feasible in major cities, delivery will become much cheaper and more energy efficient. Companies like DHL, UPS, Amazon, Google, Dominoes, Rakuten, and 7-11 all have drone-delivery technology. According to the Business Insider 2018-2020 report on online grocery shopping, 10% of consumers utilize online grocery store options, while the market value of these services doubled from $12 billion in 2016 to $26 billion in 2018 and shows no sign of slowing down. It’s possible that in the next ten years thanks to companies like Loop, all the benefits of the friendly neighborhood milkman will be resurrected to create a healthier planet for all.