Getting into the Loop

by Chris Bean

The culture of convenience has led to the prevalence of single-use products around the world. Unfortunately, only about 5% of single use plastics ever end up being recycled, meaning as much as 95% will wind up landfills, incinerators or our oceans. The rate of demand for convenience coupled with the rate at which single-use plastics are recycled adds up to a very scary future and a very real need for change. Luckily, companies such as Loop are aiming to eliminate the waste created by single-use products while attempting to match their undeniable convenience.

Loop is a global reuse platform pioneered and introduced to the world in 2019 by Terracycle. Loop operates as a partnership program between manufacturers, retailers, and consumers, working together to achieve a global reuse supply chain. They help facilitate a reusable packaging ecosystem for their partners that works to ensure packaging from these products continues to work its way from shelf, to home, to their sorting and cleaning warehouses, to manufacturers, and finally back to store shelves to start the process all over again. Loop’s purpose mirrors that of Terracycle, the Why behind their brand and business decisions is the same, eliminate the idea of waste®.

Their mission is to help combat the environmental crisis brought about by the dominance of single-use products. They plan to build a circular economy by creating an ecosystem in which reusable packaging can be as scalable, convenient, affordable, widely available, and more responsible than the current use and throw away system. They plan to do so by continually conducting life cycle analyses on all parts of the system, working with 3rd parties to confirm their findings, as well as brand partners to ensure that this ecosystem is delivering the maximum positive impact – as such, their business model will continue to evolve.

A link to this article in the digital edition of Sustainably Packaged Magazine

They are making waves by partnering with the biggest names in retail like Walmart and Carefour as well as many other multinational chains and big Consumer Packaged Goods brands like Procter & Gamble and Nestle. The process for the consumer is simple, purchase any qualifying items at participating stores, pay a small deposit, use the products like normal, and with the assistance of the Loop Deposit App on your smartphone, receive a deposit refund when you return the packaging to any Loop kiosk location. Whether you plan to bring the packaging back to the store you bought it from or if you want to drop it off when you stop for lunch at Burger King, if the location is on the Loop Deposit App, then Loop has got you covered.

More recently, Loop has partnered with Walmart and Kroger. Through Walmart+, consumers can order reusable products online to be delivered to their home with the deposit return process being facilitated through the app. Loop has also recently concluded a successful in-store pilot program with the grocery retailer, Kroger. The pilot allowed in-store shoppers to purchase products from the loop aisle and return the packaging on a subsequent visit, resulting in customers expressing their desire for more reusable packaging products on store shelves.

In order to build a reusable ecosystem that works, there needs to be a framework in place – and through global partnerships with operational companies such as UPS, Ecolab, DHL, and many more, the required logistics, design, cleaning, innovation, and storage of Loop’s reusable packaging is made possible.

Within the last few years Loop has expanded into locations in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and France – with plans of continued expansion into Australia coming soon. With the continual worsening of global environmental woes, we are excited about Loop’s commitment to creating an alternative to our single-use culture that is more sustainable, less wasteful, and just as convenient.

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