Posts with term UPS X

A Closed-Loop Delivery Service Will Soon Pick Up Old Packaging to Reuse

Recycling is incredibly important, but it’s not without its caveats. For one, plastics lose their quality each time we recycle them, so it’s not an effective long-term solution for our plastics. Plus, it’s not always economically viable for recycling centers to actually process all our plastic waste—not to mention that it’s nearly impossible to get the majority of the global population recycling at all (never mind recycle properly). So while it’s crucial that we continue to recycle, we also need to make some real changes to the way we consume products. We need to stop our endless consumption of single use plastics. With the amount of plastic matter polluting our oceans and water supplies on a daily basis, using plastic once and then throwing it out is just not sustainable. plastic garbage on the river bank But a massive change may be on the horizon.  Loop—a new zero-waste platform spearheaded by TerraCycle (a waste company that works to recycle especially challenging materials). A coalition of major brands—like Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, and Unilever—designed Loop to be convenient, affordable and unobtrusive for consumers. That’s right—we’re not talking about artisanal ice creams and high-end nut butters in reusable packaging. Loop will make many of America’s most popular products zero-waste—like Tide detergent, Häagen Dazs ice cream, Seventh Generation cleaning products, Pantene shampoo, Dove deodorant and Crest mouthwash. And they’ll deliver them to your door and pick up the empty container up when you’re done, like a modern milkman. HOW LOOP WILL WORK When you order your deodorant or detergent or whatever, you’ll pay a small deposit for the bottle. Then, the company will deliver the product in a super-durable, reusable tote, designed by engineers at UPS to withstand many abusive uses. When you finish your products, you can throw them back into the tote. When the tote is full, you simply request a delivery person to pick it up from the Loop website or drop it off at a UPS location. Everything in the system is designed to withstand at least 100 uses, which is a major step up from the use-and-toss system we have in place right now. Even if you don’t like the big brands that are partnered with the service, you have to admit that making zero waste a part of the average consumer’s shopping experience would be a major environmental win. Loop is launching its pilot programs this year. As early as this spring, consumers will be able to take part in this new sustainability initiative in both New York City and Paris. After that, who knows. If Loop is a success, maybe you’ll be able to buy your favorite ice cream flavors in a stainless steel container, too.

Can Zero-Waste Product Packaging Save Us From Our Plastic Addiction?

To solve the ever-growing problem of too much waste and plastic, a coalition of major consumer product manufacturers is borrowing an old-fashioned idea.

Most Care2 readers probably won’t remember the days when the milkman came to call each morning. He used to bring milk and cream in glass bottles, which customers used and then put outside for him to retrieve. Today, that idea is getting a fresh coat of paint. Thanks to a new marketing platform called Loop, the producers of many of the items you buy will market their goods in reusable, returnable stainless steel containers. That’s called zero-waste packaging, my friends, and its time has come. “While recycling is critically important, it is not going to solve waste at the root cause,” Tom Szaky, CEO and cofounder of TerraCycle, one of the partners behind Loop, told Fast Company. “To us, the root cause of waste is not plastic, per se, it’s using things once, and that’s really what Loop tries to change as much as possible.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement. We buy so much stuff these days because it’s convenient and single-serve. Yes, it’s plastic — but it’s not plastic’s fault. Our love affair with convenience has landed us in the mess the world now faces. Here’s how the Loop platform will work:
  • Customers purchase products — anything from Dove deodorant to Haagen-Dazs ice cream — from Loop’s website
  • The purchase includes a deposit for the container
  • UPS, a Loop partner, will deliver the products to the customer’s home in a re-usable, compartmented tote
  • As the products are used up, customers place the empty containers back into the tote
  • When the tote becomes full, customers request a pickup via Loop’s website or drop off the tote at a UPS Store
Loop automatically replenishes the products a customer sends back, so the things you use all the time will come to you as you finish them. Loop calls it “the first subscription model that manages itself.” Each package is designed to be used at least 100 times. Use of that tote to move the products back and forth means there are no cardboard shipping boxes to get rid of — sorry, Amazon. Just consider the volume of garbage that will drop out of the waste stream if this model of packaging becomes the standard for the future. The array of brands participating in the Loop pilot program in New York City and Paris is remarkable. Here are only a few:
  • Crest
  • Seventh Generation
  • Tide
  • Clorox
  • Pantene
  • Nature’s Path Organic
  • Hidden Valley
  • Febreze
Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Danone, Mars Petcare, Mondelēz International and others will provide their products in reusable containers for Loop’s pilot program. Assuming all goes well, we can expect to see Loop roll this idea out to a broader geographic area. With a little luck, maybe zero-waste packaging will be the future of commerce. Sometimes old ideas are the best ideas, after all. Like the old song says — everything old is new again.

TerraCycle's Loop is about to change

It’s been a long time since the “Trenton Makes, the World Takes” motto has meant much around these parts. But if the folks at Loop pull off what they’re attempting, then it’s fair to say the motto will mean more than ever. In fact, it would be ripe for an update, something along the lines of “Trenton Makes, the World Takes and Takes and Takes Again, in Fact They’ll Keep Taking Because That’s How We Buy Stuff Nowadays and Wow Can You Believe a Trenton Company is Responsible for Waste Free Packaging and More or Less Saving the Planet?” OK, fine, that’s a mouthful and probably needs some light edits, but the fact remains: Loop, which is owned by Terracycle and housed in the Terracycle offices in Trenton, has gone back in time to create waste free packaging.
Think back to the old days, when the milkman dropped off your moo juice. This was before my time, but I get the idea: He’d drop off the bottles, you’d drink the milk, he’d pick up the bottles and give you more milk. Well, Loop is proposing to the same thing. For milk, sure. And ice cream. And toothpaste. And peanut butter. And garbage bags. And tin foil. And virtually every last kitchen, bath, and household item you can think of. And this isn’t some back-of-the-envelope scheme; already, Loop has signed up Nestle, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and dozens more companies, large and small, to get this party started. In the coming months, even more companies will announce plans to partner with Loop. You’ll be able to order direct from LoopStore.com, UPS will serve as the “milkman,” and within a few years, you’ll also be able to buy the products in stores. The phrase “game changer” gets tossed about a lot, but this one feels awfully game-changey. “We’re stopping and thinking and saying that even if 100 percent of products and packaging were recyclable, and even if 100 percent of products are made from recycled content, is that still the best?” said Anthony Rossi, the vice-president of Global Business Development at Loop. “Two years ago Tom (Szaky, Terracycle founder and CEO) got to thinking and said ‘no, we can’t stop there.’ One, it’s utopian. I don’t think we’ll ever get close to that number, but two the real problem here is disposability. And so we’re attacking disposability by working with partners to reengineer their packaging to be durable and reusable while providing infrastructure to get products to consumers and back.” The plan is pretty dang simple. You order you products, from Axe deodorant to Haagen-Dazs ice cream. It’s delivered, via UPS, in a Loop tote. When you’re done with your package, you put it back in the tote and leave on your doorstep. And that’s pretty much that. Instead of throwing away the packaging, you simply toss it in the tote. Couldn’t be easier. “People try to their best when they can, but when it’s convenience vs. sustainably, convenience wins,” Rossi noted.
He’s right. I mean, I want to recycle, but … well, I don’t feel like going outside to toss the stuff in the can when my kitchen garbage is right here. But Loop negates that issue. “We want people to be able to live their life in Loop and have the opportunity to live a waste free life. We want to be that utopian, we want to be that far-reaching,” Rossi said. “In 50 years time, our goal - and this is super utopian - but we want our kids, our grandkids to look back at this period at human history and say, ‘what the hell were they doing?’ We want the idea of waste and disposability to be a blip. We want Loop to be the norm. Wherever products are being sold and consumed, we want those products to be in durable containers.” It’s going to happen. It’s the most obvious, easy answer. And when it does, and when Loop becomes the norm, always remember: It was born right here in Trenton. How about, “Trenton Reduces, the World Reuses?” Getting warmer, right?

Can Loop’s 21st century milkman fix plastic plague?

TerraCycle's new circular shopping platform rescues big packaged brands from PR crisis Remember the sea turtle with a straw fused up its nose? The viral image that broke your heart and made you swear off straws? There’s more. On February 4, the UK’s RSPCA released the latest round of disturbing photos of wildlife – maimed seals, ducks, deer, even cats – ensnared in plastic bags, bottles and other snaggy remnants of our disposable economy. A flurry of British media headlines cut to the chase: record numbers of animals are killed or injured by plastic. It doesn’t take a PR insider to tell you that new reports of wildlife injured by plastic litter are sure to get packaged goods makers biting their nails and bracing for impact. With public outrage over disposable plastics growing steadily, major international brands have been under heavy pressure to rethink their packaging models. Over the last few months, the world’s largest consumer goods makers and sellers responded by announcing some surprisingly aggressive waste reduction targets. With some cajoling from the UK-based Ellen MacArthur Foundation, roughly 300 major corporations responsible for 20 per cent of the planet’s plastic packaging, including Unilever, Colgate, SC Johnson, H&M, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, signed onto a “new plastics economy” commitment. They’ve vowed to make sure all their plastic packaging is either recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025. The targets are impressive. They’re also, as shareholder advocacy group As You Sow noted, aspirational. Making your plastic packaging recyclable is one thing. Making sure it all gets recycled is another, particularly with global recycling infrastructure in a free fall, as China and now Malaysia and soon Vietnam shut their doors to the planet’s less desirable recycling scraps. (Not to mention that 90 per cent of plastic is never shipped off to be recycled to begin with, regardless of whether it’s technically recyclable). Compostable packaging targets get messy, too, when you consider that many cities with curbside composting, such as Toronto, reject most certified compostable packaging (like, say, compostable coffee pods) in their green bins because they’re, in a nutshell, not compatible with their systems. That leaves the most meaningful option – and the gateway to a truly circular economy – behind door number three: reusable. Deposit return systems on refillable drink containers, including beer or milk bottles, have been the golden child of the circular economy since, well, the golden era of the milkman. Other circular economy darlings have usually been limited to companies that make products that can be taken back and/or and refurbished, like an old Patagonia coat. The idea has never really gained traction with the make ‘n toss packaged good set – until now. https://www.corporateknights.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/loop-video-shot-1.png Enter Loop’s new “circular shopping platform” – heralded as the 21st century milkman. But instead of a milk truck, your friendly neighbourhood UPS driver will be tasked with dropping off (and picking up) a leak-proof reusable LOOP box filled with an array of popular brands like Pantene, Tide, Seventh Generation, Dove, Tropicana, Nature’s Path, Body Shop and more so people can get everything from mayonnaise to deodorant in branded stainless steel, glass and refillable plastic containers – all within 48 hours of ordering. Once you’re done, call UPS for pick-up and the containers will be returned to Loop for sanitation then to manufacturers for refill. It’s a conscious consumer’s dream. It also sounds like a lot of greenhouse gas-intensive shipping. TerraCycle, the company behind Loop has said it’s calculated the total impact of its shopping platform and says that, overall, Loop products are 50 to 75 per cent better for the environment than conventional alternatives. Usman Valiante has his doubts. The senior policy analyst with Corporate Policy Group LLP has been involved in rolling out producer take-back initiatives in B.C. and Ontario and cautions that early carbon footprint estimates often miss the mark: “If you look at the greenhouse gas footprint of Amazon, online shop was supposed to reduce the amount of truck trips, when it’s actually done the opposite.” It would be “fine, if the entire transportation system ran on renewable energy,” says Valiante. “But it’s not.” Loop has argued that while it might add more delivery trucks to the road, it’s system will ultimately involve fewer garbage trucks. It also plans to break into brick-and-mortar retail outlets in the future. Loop’s real world GHG numbers will be crunched further during its trial run in New York and Paris starting this May. If all goes well, Loop trials will be coming to Toronto, Tokyo, San Fran and London next to much fanfare. Many of Loop’s early brand partners could no doubt use some good press. Coco-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Nestle, Mars, Clorox, Mondelēz have all been slammed by Greenpeace as the world’s largest contributors to the ocean plastic crisis. Their branded packaging has been turning up in Greenpeace ocean trash audits from Asia to Canada. It’s actually why Loop’s creator, Toronto-raised and Jersey-headquartered Tom Szaky reportedly pitched those brands first. https://www.corporateknights.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ice-cream-loop.png Partnering with Loop doesn’t just save them from a PR crisis and position them as innovators. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has also been drawing corporate players to the circular economy table with the promise of boosted brand loyalty and deeper data dives on consumers. As Institute for Smart Prosperity’s Stephanie Cairns points out to, when people sign up to have weekly deliveries of Haagen-Dazs [the only ice cream brand in the Loop store so far], Nestle doesn’t just get brand loyalty, it starts amassing specific data about exactly who’s eating its ice cream and when. “For a lot of brands, this a very attractive idea,” says Cairns. TerraCycle (founded in 2001) has always known the power of flipping the script on branded packaged goods. One of the recycling company’s earliest upcycled products involved transforming old branded juice pouches into new branded tote bags. Okay, so not everyone wants to sling a Luna-wrapper-turned-messenger bag over their shoulder. But with TerraCycle’s new Loop initiative, they’ve figured out a classier way to close the loop on disposables, working with consumer good companies to develop sleek, branded reusable containers, on which deposits will be paid. https://www.corporateknights.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Axe-Loop-1.png The concept should test well with well-heeled, urban Aspirationals – the 40 per cent of people who, according to BBMG, wan­­t to buy from companies that do good. Particularly those Aspirationals already doing a lot of online shopping and feeling guilty about their packaging trail. But not every consumer will want to or can afford to fork out $20 for shipping and up to $10 per container on a deposit, which throws a bit of a wrench in the reach and scaleability of the model. For others, no amount of shiny reusable packaging will scrub the tarnish from the Coca-Colas and Nestles of the world. Emily Charles-Donelson works with Toronto Tool Library and Sharing Depot, where customers can borrow items and refill their own soap containers. She’s worried that Mondelēz, Clorox and friends will be selling Millennials more of the same old problematic products in feel-good packaging. “Loop’s reusable container program has the potential to significantly amplify the growing culture of reuse, moving us away from the erroneous notion that recycling is a viable solution to the waste crisis,” says Charles-Donelson. “Zooming out, however, LOOP is a halfway solution dreamed up within the parameters of the same broken corporate narrative that fueled the environmental crisis in the first place.” https://www.corporateknights.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Loop-Wipe-e1549596439683-2.jpg Can we buy our way out of this mess? Probably not, especially if we’re buying disposable paper towels and sewer-clogging antibacterial wipes in refillable containers. But at least we’re starting to come to terms with the glaring reality that we can’t recycle our way out. Until we’ve figured out a new green economy that isn’t so deeply hinged on ever more consumption, the world needs Loop and others like it to catch on, do well, scale up beyond the 20,000 stainless steel tubs of Häagen-Dazs being piloted (humans, after all, buy 13 billion litres of ice cream every year) and to thrive as one of many circular economy solutions around the globe. Maybe more than anything, we need the Loops, Tool Libraries and Sharing Depots of the world to be supported by ambitious and binding circular economy regulations, along the lines of what we’re seeing in Europe and the UK (we’re waiting on you, Canada).  At the moment, Cairns says, “We [in Canada] don’t have a public policy framework that’s going to easily enable a [refillable] product to come into the market and be collected through regular waste pick-up streams and recirculated back to suppliers.” “The Loop model really highlights the defects in Canada’s current system,” says Cairns, but she points out it also shows the potential that’s out there “if we unleash creative thinking out-of-the-box thinking.”s  

Loop Wants Us to Rethink Consumption. It Seems Like a Logistical Disaster That Might Actually Work.

The coalition of brands would like us to buy consumable products in reusable containers, and then ship them back for refills. Americans generate a lot of waste—so much that we’re running into problems with how to get rid of it. We’re poised to run out of space in landfills within two decades, according to one estimate. Historically, we’ve sent tons of our used plastic to China (693 metric tons in 2016, mostly from single-use food containers), but as of last year, it is no longer accepting that waste. A new possible solution to this problem comes from a surprising source: Major brands like Unilever and Procter and Gamble are collaborating to reduce waste in an innovative shopping platform called Loop, announced last week. When you order, say, Häagen-Dazs ice cream from the service, the company will ship it to you in a sturdy container for which you’ll pay a small deposit. You’ll get that money back when you return the container via UPS. The company cleans the container, and refills it with product to sell again. It kind of sounds like corporations are giving themselves a giant pat on the back for reinventing recycling—now with the annoyance of consumers having to do additional shipping! Luckily, it’s a bit better than that: Loop seems like a genuinely good idea that can tangibly help solve a clear problem, even if the process will inevitably face at least a few snafus as it gets up and running. Loop calls itself “the milkman reimagined,” which is a pretty catchy description. While you might immediately fret about an under-recognized carbon footprint of all this shipping, it turns out it thought of that. Reusing the containers will save more material and energy than fashioning new ones each time—even with all the additional shipping. In fact, the full process is predicted to be as much as 75 percent better for the environment, according to estimates Loop shared with Fast Company. There’s an additional possible benefit, too: Mindfully shepherding containers in and out of your house seems like a good way to be more aware of consumption more generally. Loop might even inspire you to reconsider some of your specific purchases: There’s a slightly higher mental barrier to impulse-purchasing lotion at CVS if you’re committing to this system of using the entire thing and investing in its carrier. That’s exactly the kind of additional consideration we should be giving all of this stuff. There are some kinks to be worked out. For example, the timing of the subscription service seems a little wonky: Another shipment of a product could be set to be triggered when you return a container, as Fast Company explains. This helpfully eliminates the hazard of a bunch of, say, toothpaste piling up at your house faster than you can use it. But it also leaves a gap of however long it takes new toothpaste to ship during which you’ll be toothpaste-less. And speaking of toothpaste, it won’t come in tubes in the Loop model, Fast Company notes—they’re too difficult to refill. Instead, Unilever designed a chewable toothpaste. The possibility that this toothpaste is good seems … low. Loop is at least aware that there will be pitfalls: a press release says it will launch in just two cities to start, New York and Paris, so the platform can conduct “in-market learning experiments.” For the consumer’s part, the logistics of shuttling these containers back and forth aren’t effortless, but it’s not as difficult as, say, taking beer bottles to the supermarket for reuse. You can send back several containers at once in a reusable Loop box, which is picked up from your door by UPS. Loop says it won’t require customers to clean the container before sending them back, which might make it an even lower lift than recycling. The annoyance factor seems in line with other successful services that involve a lot of shipping, like Rent the Runway or Trunk Club (but without the liability of sending multi-thousand dollar gowns via post). One other benefit? The sample container designs look much nicer than your average containers. Packaging displayed on Loop’s website includes a pair of Pantene Pro-V bottles made from lightweight aluminum. The marketing claims are less blaring, the brand lettering is smaller. Instead there’s “I reuse, I love the oceans” in faux-cursive on the side along with illustrations of friendly sea life. Honestly, seems like a nice thing to have in your bathroom! I’m into personal care products that don’t make it seem like you need to buy a zillion things to look good. It’s also clear that this green halo presents a real upside for companies that participate. If consumers get into Loop, they’ll loosely lock themselves into a suite of specific products, something brands are eager to do. (This is the point of Amazon Dash buttons.) Companies participating will no doubt enjoy this benefit, along with the positive branding boost that comes from being involved in an innovative recycling platform. Plus, they’ve made no commitment to stop filling up landfills with traditional non-Loop packaging in addition to participating in Loop. Still, I’m inclined to root for Loop, even if it will be hard to execute. It’s this very element—how hard it will be—that confirms how lofty its goals are. This isn’t a feel-good baby step like banning plastic straws, nor is it a feel-good commercial about using more wind power. It’s an attempt to change how we think about the products we currently consume mindlessly. In that light, its first victory might be making us think about them at all.

TerraCycle Program Aims to Reduce Trash with Re-Usable Containers

https://t2vhjkrglh-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/loop.png TerraCycle, a Trenton-based company that specializes in finding uses for hard-to-recycle waste, is trying to remove trash from the equation altogether with a new program called “The Loop.” It’s a more advanced take on the old “milkman” idea, in which products are delivered and empty containers returned to be re-used. The Loop delivers products like toothpaste, detergent, and mayonnaise to consumers’ homes via UPS. But instead of being in their usual disposable packaging, Loop products are in re-usable containers. And the deliveries come not in a cardboard shipping box, but in a re-usable tote. When customers are done with the product, they put the empty container back in the tote and leave it on their doorstep for shipment back to TerraCycle, which sends the customer a replacement product right away. In some cases, customers can take empties back to a store instead of shipping.   The consumer also pays a small deposit for the sturdy container, which they get back if they choose not to have it refilled. TerraCycle is partnering in the experimental program with brands like Tide, Crest, Pantene, Axe, Dove, and others. Major manufacturers of consumer products, such as Unilever, are looking at the Loop as an experiment to see whether consumers will buy in to the idea.   The pilot program is launching in northern France and the New York area, including parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, this May. The company plans to expand to other cities beginning later in 2019. To sign up and shop for an initial list of 300 products, visit www.loopstore.com. TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky discussed the Loop at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this month. “As a response to the global challenge in managing waste and the opportunity to improve consumers’ experience, a group of committed 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,” Szaky said. “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.” Terracycle says the Loop relies on technology developed by TerraCycle and its partners. The program is managed by TerraCycle. To participate, partner companies had to pay TerraCycle and also invent new types of container, aiming to meet TerraCycle’s goal of surviving at least 100 uses. One of the more advanced containers is Haagen-Dazs’ cream cooler, which can keep ice cream frozen for a day and a half. Although the Loop is currently a standalone website, Szaky hopes to integrate it into Amazon and get it onto store shelves. Its overseas partners include the French grocery giant Carrefour and British chain Tesco.

Why Global Brands Are Backing This New Way to Recycle

  Loop's new recycling program hopes to eliminate waste altogether.TERRACYCLE Some of the biggest consumer brands are trying out a new way to repurpose packaging. It’s a modern take on an old school model: think of milkmen picking up used milk bottles or recycling glass bottle to get the deposit back.   Last week at Davos, TerraCycle, a US-based waste management company, debuted a new model of recycling, called the Loop, working with global brands like Unilever, P&G, The Clorox Company, Nestle, PepsiCo, Coca Cola European Partners, Danone, and The Body Shop. It does just as the name suggests: keep “looping” the packaging back to the brand for a refill, instead of throwing it in the bin after just one use. This could be the beginnings of an e-commerce circular shopping system. Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, said: “We want to put an end to the current ‘take-make-dispose’ culture and are committed to taking big steps towards designing our products for re-use. We’re proud to be a founding partner of Loop, which will deliver our much-loved brands in packaging which is truly circular by design.” TerraCycle has been on the business of trash for a decade, recycling waste, and helping brands figure out more eco-friendly alternatives. Despite their successes, Loop required reimagining the current system altogether. “It took quite a bit of effort to get the founding partners on board:  PG, Unilever, Nestle, Mars and PepsiCo as the model requires a major investment of money, time and other resources,” says Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle. “Once these companies joined they set the stage and since then it has been surprisingly easy to bring partners on board.” Reusable containers with glass and metal would substitute cheap disposable packaging.TERRACYCLE He admits that it’s more complicated and costly option right now for brands. But at scale, the cost can drop. Same applies for retail partners like Carrefour and Tesco who were first hesitant to sign, but have been easier to convict after Carrefour pioneered the way, being the first grocery retailer to test out Loop. Laurent Vallée, General Secretary of Carrefour Group, said: “Loop is a disruptive solution led by a visionary entrepreneur. 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.” For customers, the prices for Loop products will be comparable to what they would be normally in disposable packaging. However, customers do have to pay a refundable deposit for the durable containers. In the US, this will vary from $0.25 to $10. This is fully refunded when the empty packaging is picked up, no matter what condition it is returned in, Szaky clarifies. Rather than build a new brand centered around packaging, Loop wants companies and consumers to pay closer attention to the economics of packaging: the current model incentives the cheapest options. Since compostable packaging is still more expensive, big global brands have been slow to adopt. “The good news is that in Loop you don’t have to trust our products, as they are already the best brands in the world from Tide to Haagen Dazs, and you don’t have to trust us as a retailer. All you have to do is switch from disposable to durable, which gives you the following profound benefits,” he adds. With some of this new packaging, there may be some added bonuses: for instance, the metal containers keep ice cream frozen longer and wet wipes, well, wetter. Plus, there’s the obvious bonus of less trash to take out every week. By working with UPS and Suez, TerraCycle can use the same routes UPS does daily to deliver packages to pick up the waste. So no drops to recycling units or additional steps for customers. The idea was conceived at the World Economic Forum; hence it’s debut there this year. Szaky used the convening of these global brands at this annual event to design the system. To expand on this vision, Szaky has been raising capital through crowdfunding: over $3 million have been raised thus far. Szaky says they’re also raising capital specifically for Loop, which is owned by TerraCycle Global, and requires a fair amount of capital upfront for brands to innovative new types of packaging and a process of refillng. The pilots with these global brands will unravel this spring and it’s yet to be determined if customers are as eager as brands to solve the waste problem.

Pepsi, Nestle, and more will test reusable packaging subscription service

Reuse your orange juice bottle

By Ashley Carman@ashleyrcarman  Jan 28, 2019, 10:38am EST SHARE Image: Loop Pepsi, Unilever, and Nestle plan to start offering their products through a subscription delivery service with one key twist: all of its packaging will be reusable. The service, called Loop, will launch with 25 big-name partners, and it hopes to stand out by offering a more environmentally friendly take on a subscription plan. Loop compares its service to the milkman. Just like the milkman dropped off fresh milk and then came back for the bottles once people consumed their supply, Loop will have UPS drivers drop off a reusable bag with miscellaneous products inside. Once they’re used, consumers can schedule for their old containers to be picked up and new containers to be dropped off. Loop will handle the cleaning and reuse aspect of the packaging. The service is supposed to launch in parts of Paris, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania in mid-May. Loop is also planning to work out delivery for London through Tesco later this year, and it’s aiming to launch in Tokyo in 2020. For now, it’s starting with a small trial of users. Every brand designed its own packaging for use with Loop so they stay true to the company’s image while still being reusable. Some of Unilever’s products are expected to last eight years, according to The Wall Street Journal. The products will cost roughly the same as single-use containers, but people will have to pay a container deposit between $1 and $10, and shipping will start at $20, but it will decrease with every item added. Image: Loop It’s a neat idea that fits in with the push to stop the use of disposable straws. If the service is convenient, fast enough, and not overly expensive, I can imagine people actually wanting to use it for the good of the planet.  

Major brands commit to selling products in refillable containers

Loop breakfast products © Loop (used with permission) If the Loop pilot project succeeds, store shelves could soon look a lot different than they do now. Something major happened last week. On Thursday in Davos, Switzerland, 25 of the world's biggest brands announced that they will soon offer products in refillable, reusable containers. Items such as Tropicana orange juice, Axe and Dove deodorants, Tide laundry detergent, Quaker cereal, and Häagen-Dazs ice cream, among others, will be available in glass or stainless steel containers, instead of single-use disposable packaging.   The project is called Loop and it is the result of a partnership between these brands and TerraCycle, a waste management company that first pitched the idea to these brands a year ago at Davos. Brands who liked it, or saw the wisdom in sprucing up their environmental credibility, pay to be part of the project and commit to designing reusable packaging. Loop will start as a pilot project, launching in May 2019 for 5,000 shoppers in New York and Paris who sign up for it in advance. It will expand to London at the end of the year and spread to Toronto, Tokyo, and San Francisco in 2020. If it is successful, more partners could join Loop and products would eventually become available on store shelves. Loop Häagen-Dazs ice cream© Loop (used with permission) It works similarly to Amazon in that customers use a retail website to order goods; they must also put up a fully refundable deposit for the reusable packaging. The items are delivered to their doorstep in a reusable tote – a modern take on the old-fashioned milkman. Once the products are used up, the empty containers are returned to the tote and collected by a UPS driver. They do not need to be cleaned and, even if the containers are banged up, the deposit is issued in full. Customers only lose money if they fail to make a return. From CNN's report on Loop, "[TerraCycle CEO] Tom Szaky acknowledged that it’s a lot to ask people to use yet another retail website. He hopes that Loop will eventually be integrated into existing online shops, including Amazon. 'We’re not trying to harm or cannibalize retailers,' Szaky said. 'We’re trying to offer a plug-in that could make them better.'" Loop tote© Loop (used with permission) This is an incredible step forward. These brands have enormous reach and influence in the consumer sphere, which puts them in a uniquely powerful position to effect real change. They are not perfect, of course. In the followup to the Loop announcement there has been some criticism about their less-than-perfect track records on other environmental issues, such as palm oil and animal testing, but I think that's beside the point. It is impossible to tackle everything at the same time. Plastic pollution is one thing that has captured the public interest of late and it poses a potential PR crisis for these brands if they don't act quickly. We should celebrate the steps that they are taking, which are more progressive than anything else I've seen so far. Loop pampers diapers© Loop (used with permission) – Even Pampers diapers can be purchased in a refillable container, which TerraCycle says eliminates the need for a Diaper Genie. They'll even deal with the waste inside. Loop's future will depend on how the trial goes, but it looks promising. In the words of Bridget Croke, leader of external affairs for Closed Loop Partners, a group that invests in recycling technologies and sustainable consumer goods (and is unconnected to Loop), "If there's ever a time that these new models can succeed, it's now." Meanwhile, the recycling industry is broken, a "failing industry," and people are asking for reusable packaging. The interest is real. From CNN: "Small dairies throughout the country are already reviving the milkman by offering delivery services... Refillable beer growlers are staging a comeback, with Whole Foods and Kroger offering in-store beer taps. Startups are trying to help people refill reusable soap containers at home, and millions of consumers are already refilling SodaStream bottles in their kitchens." I think we're catching a glimpse of a future that looks more hopeful and exciting than it has in a long time. Visit Loop for more information.

A coalition of giant brands is about to change how we shop forever, with a new zero-waste platform

Loop will send you name-brand products, like Tide detergent, Crest mouthwash, or Häagen Dazs ice cream. When you’re done, you ship the empty container back, where it gets cleaned and reused for the next customer. [Photo: Loop] In the not-too-distant future–as soon as this spring, if you live in or near New York City or Paris–you’ll be able to buy ice cream or shampoo in a reusable container. When you’re done eating a tub of Haagen-Dazs, you’ll toss the sleek stainless steel package in your personal reuse bin instead of your trash can. Then it will be picked up for delivery back to a cleaning and sterilization facility so that it can be refilled with more ice cream for another customer. Loop, a new zero-waste platform from a coalition of major consumer product companies, will launch its first pilots this year. “While recycling is critically important, it is not going to solve waste at the root cause,” says Tom Szaky, CEO and cofounder of TerraCycle, a company that is known for recycling hard-to-recycle materials, and one of the partners behind the project. [Photo: courtesy Loop] “We run what is today the world’s largest supply chain on ocean plastic, collecting it and going into Unilever and Procter & Gamble products and so on,” Szaky says. “But every day, more and more gets put in the ocean, so no matter how much we clean the ocean, we’re never going to solve the problem. That’s really where Loop emerged…To us, the root cause of waste is not plastic, per se, it’s using things once, and that’s really what Loop tries to change as much as possible.” [Photo: courtesy Loop] TerraCycle worked with companies like Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, and more than a dozen others for over a year to develop the new platform. Each package in the system is designed for 100 or more uses. In the initial launch, products will be available through Loop’s e-commerce site. When you order, say, deodorant or mouthwash, you’ll pay a deposit for the bottle. The order will show up in a reusable tote–designed by engineers at UPS to withstand repeated journeys–instead of a cardboard box. As you use up products, you’ll throw the empty containers back in the tote. When it’s full, you can go to the Loop website to request a delivery driver to pick it up (or, if you prefer, drop it off at a UPS store).   [Photo: courtesy Loop] For consumers, the process is designed to be as seamless as possible. “The goal isn’t as much to get you to change, it’s instead to create systems that don’t make you change–but have you then solve the issue in the process,” Szaky says. “Creating consumer change is phenomenally difficult. So the first question we asked in developing the model was why did disposability win? Why did it take over? I think it did because disposability is convenient and affordable.” Others have tried to tackle the problem of trash through other models, like refillable packaging or zero-waste grocery stores. But when those solutions fall short of the convenience or affordability of standard plastic packaging, they struggle to gain mass adoption. Loop aims to be essentially as convenient as throwing something in the trash; you don’t even need to rinse the container, so in that respect, it’s simpler than recycling. Apart from the refundable deposit on the package, the cost of the products will be similar to what customers pay now. Customers may also pay for shipping the totes back and forth, though a certain number of products can be shipped free, depending on the weight. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads   [Photo: courtesy Loop] UPS, which is partnering on the initial pilot to both deliver orders and pick up totes of empty containers, says that the system fits into its existing operations. “If you think of a typical day for a package-car driver, that driver will leave the building in the morning with a full package car,” says Patrick Browne, global director of sustainability at UPS. “As he’s going throughout the day delivering, on a very engineered route to reduce miles, at the same time, he’s picking up packages. So the effect is that driver leaves full and comes home full.”   [Photo: courtesy Loop] When a package is returned, a customer gets back their deposit (or, if they’ve opted for an automatic subscription, the receipt of the container can trigger a new order). Empty packages go to a facility to be cleaned, and then get sent back to manufacturers for refilling. All of this shipping does have a carbon footprint, but when TerraCycle calculated the total impact of the packaging, they found that it’s between 50-75% better for the environment than conventional alternatives.   “The major [environmental] cost of a product, whether it’s durable or disposable, is its creation–making it for the first time, extracting materials from the earth, and so on,” Szaky says. “That doesn’t happen in reuse. Instead, what you have is the cost of some shipping as well as the cleaning, and that ends up being significantly better than the cost of remanufacturing.” Shifting the ownership of a package from a consumer back to a brand creates new opportunities. “It shifts from being a cost to the manufacturer to being an asset,” he says. Instead of aiming to make the cheapest packaging possible, packaging can be designed to look better on shelves. It can also perform better; the Haagen-Dazs ice cream tub, for example, can keep ice cream frozen for multiple hours. [Photo: courtesy Loop] As brands worked on the packaging designs, it also led to some changes in the products. A toothpaste tube is too difficult to reuse, so Unilever designed toothpaste tablets that consumers can chew instead of squirting out of a tube. The tablets come in a reusable, zero-waste container (they also use less water). And in some cases, the products themselves can also come back for recycling. Loop will sell diapers, for example, in a returnable diaper pail, and then recycle the parts of diapers that are recyclable.     [Photo: courtesy Loop] The model is similar to milk deliveries in the early 20th century, though it’s yet to be proven that it can work in the modern world. In the pilots this spring, Loop will test how the system works, including the durability of containers, the impacts on manufacturing operations, delivery, and, crucially, whether consumers reorder products this way. (At a later point, it will begin to roll out the products at brick-and-mortar stores; the details of the system at physical stores haven’t been finalized yet.) Success, Szaky says, will depend on consumer acceptance, and the fact that the platform sells brands that are already hugely successful will help. “We don’t have to prove our brand of shampoo, it’s already the best,” he says. “We don’t have to prove that consumers shop at our store, they already do this. It’s just giving them an alternative way to access those things.” If the early pilots go well, the platform could become mainstream. The fact that these are major brands like Tide and Gillette–and not niche brands targeting green consumers–is significant. The largest brands are acknowledging that packaging needs to change. (Many have already committed to move to reusable, recycleable, or compostable plastic packaging.) Eight of the 10 companies that Greenpeace has listed as the world’s largest contributors to the plastic waste crisis are part of Loop, and the coalition is in talks with the other two. “We are objectively in a garbage crisis, and brands are really looking to bring solutions to end the crisis,” Szaky says.