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Do You Remember the Milkman? Well, He’s Coming Back with Loop

Loop

A new shopping platform announced at this year’s World Economic Forum aims to change the way consumers buy many brand-name products.

Loop, as the platform is called, aims to do away with disposable containers for products such as shampoo and laundry detergent from some of the world’s biggest manufacturers. Instead, your goods will be delivered in sleek, reusable containers that will be picked up at your door, washed, and refilled.
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Tom Szaky, CEO of New Jersey-based international recycling company TerraCycle, the brains behind Loop, explains his business model:

“Loop is about the future of consumption. And one of the tenants is that garbage shouldn’t exist. Removing plastics from the ocean is not enough. We need to get at the whole idea of disposability and single-use items. We’re going back to the milkman model of the 1950s. You buy the milk but the milk company owns the bottle, which you leave in the milk box to be picked up when you’re done with it.”

TerraCycle and Loop CEO Tom Szaky

Companies partnering with Loop include PepsiCo, Nestle, and Procter & Gamble, among other top brands.

“Our goal is that by 2030, all of our packaging will be reusable or recyclable.”

Procter & Gamble Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer Virginie Helias

Helias has said that Loop

“…is a very new idea and somewhat risky because no one has tried it. But the response has very positive, and we’ve selected 10 of our brands to be a part of the pilot project, with a plan to add more later pending positive results.”

Procter & Gamble Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer Virginie Helias

For example, Pantene shampoo

“…will come in a beautifully decorated, lightweight-aluminum pump container. Tide in the US will come in a stainless-steel bottle with a durable twist cap. Cascade will come in ultra-durable packaging. Crest mouthwash will come in a glass bottle. The idea is ultra-durability, convenience and also ultra-luxurious packaging.”

Procter & Gamble Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer Virginie Helias

Haagen-Dazs ice cream, a Nestle product, will be delivered in a double-walled, stainless-steel tub that’s designed to keep the ice cream cold for longer.

Loop is even helping take care of products that would otherwise have to be thrown away. Instead of adding dirty disposable diapers to landfills, soiled diapers can, starting in the Paris, France, area, be placed in sleek, durable containers. When full, Loop will pick up the diaper container and deliver a clean, empty one. New technology allows them to process and recycle the diapers, something TerraCycle has already begun to do in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.

“We have only one planet, and we have to take care of it for the long term. We want to strive for Zero Waste at the production and consumption level. Loop is so innovative that we felt we had to be a part of it and learn from it.”

CEO of the Americas Region of Nestle Laurent Freixe

Nestle hopes to do away with of their all non-recyclable packaging by the year 2025.

The rise of the “Zero Waste” movement and concern for the environment has led many business to try and reduce packaging, especially single-use containers. Loop is unusual due to the number of companies participating and its international scope.

Loop plans to start with 300 products and has plans to add to that list in the future.

Partners include, according to TerraCycle, Procter & Gamble, PepsiC0, Nestle, Unilever, Mars Petcare, The Clorox Company, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola, Mondelez International, Danone, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, BIC, Nature’s Path, Thousand Fell, Greenhouse, Grilliance, Preserve, Carrefour, UPS, and the sustainable-resource management company Suez.

Greenpeace, which has criticized many big manufacturers for creating much of the plastic waste polluting the world’s oceans, joined a panel about sustainable consumption where Loop was announced.

Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace’s international executive director, stated,

“While Greenpeace welcomes the aim of the Loop Alliance to move away from throwaway culture and disposability…what the platform will mean for the environment depends on whether corporations worldwide are actually ready to change their business models, or if this effort just becomes a distracting side project to generate positive PR.”

International Executive Director of Greenpeace Jennifer Morgan

Morgan warned that most of the businesses behind the initiative are still expanding the production of single-use plastic even though representatives focus on the progress they have vowed to make in adopting more sustainable packaging.

Loop was poised to launch this past spring in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Paris and some of its suburbs.

Shoppers are able to purchase zero waste products on Loop’s website, to be delivered straight to their homes in specially designed shipping totes, and eventually at participating retailers, such as Paris’ Carrefour grocery stores.

Loop intends to expand into the West Coast of the US, Toronto, and the UK by the end of the year, or early 2020, followed by Japan, hopefully just in time for the 2020 Olympics, according to Szaky.

“It means more delivery trucks, but far fewer garbage trucks.”

TerraCycle and Loop CEO Tom Szaky

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