The Loop initiative, by Terracycle, is set to change the way products are both manufactured and consumed.
Loop is like the old milkman but reimagined for modern times. Loop puts consumers in the driver’s seat when it comes to sustainability. You can order what you need, when you need it, and do it all on your own schedule. You can even get products replenished when you run out. And it all comes directly to your doorstep.
The company behind Loop is one of the fastest growing green companies in the World. TerraCycle’s goal is to eliminate waste by recycling the “non-recyclable” and their latest initiative is quite a breakthrough.
How does Loop work?
The zero-waste system utilizes reusable containers, covering the cycle from manufacturer to consumer and back again, without the need to throw away any wasteful packaging. After the consumer is done with the food or household item, the containers are picked up and sent for cleaning and sterilization.
Partnering with transporter, UPS, for the initial pilot project, items are delivered in a reusable tote bag and picked-up when complete. Users can even set up an automatic subscription to keep their shelves full of regularly used items.
What problem does Loop solve?
It is no secret that customers are looking to buy brands that have a sustainable footprint. Everyone knows about the ever-growing landfills and the worsening problem of plastic waste in the oceans. It comes down to disposability, and the key to change could be in the elimination of single-use plastics. Though it takes up to five Loop cycles of refilling and reusing an item for it to be better from an environmental standpoint, it’s an important solution amidst a global crisis.
TerraCycle’s CEO and co-founder, Tom Szaky explains:
“The key thesis statement is we can’t just recycle our way out of the garbage crisis. We need foundational changes. Our version of the foundational change is: How do we solve for disposability at the root cause, while matching the benefits?”
Waste begins at the manufacturing level of single-use disposable items and carries on to the consumer. The benefit of Loop is that by reusing plastics it takes the onus of waste off of both the manufacturer and the consumer.
The concept of ‘zero-waste’ is to take items that are destined for trash heaps and reuse them over and over. The process is simpler than recycling but requires redesigning single-use packaging and containers to be reusable at the manufacturing level.
A zero-waste system is closer to the way nature uses and reuses resources. For instance, each package in the Loop system is designed for 100 or more uses. When TerraCycle calculated the total impact of reusable packaging, they found that it’s between 50-75% better for the environment than conventional alternatives.
Notably, the cost of shipping and cleaning reusable containers ends up being significantly better than the cost of remanufacturing. The added convenience and affordability makes zero-waste the sustainable way to go.
Big brands on board
The Loop platform will sell some of the most recognizable brands and products. A coalition of global companies is on board the bandwagon aimed at reducing single-use plastics. Some of the brands involved with Loop include Crest, Febreze, Hellmann’s, The Body Shop, Oral-B, Tide, Haagen-Dazs, Dove, Gillette, Axe, Nature’s Path, and many more.
“We are objectively in a garbage crisis, and brands are really looking to bring solutions to end the crisis”
It is great to see some of the biggest corporations getting into environmental sustainability. Loop represents a marketable initiative that customers, staff, and shareholders, can all be proud of. Plus, these brands are building trust with the communities they serve. These major companies have long been criticized as the problem and with Loop they become part of the solution. Eight of the ten 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.
Acknowledging that packaging needs to change creates new opportunities for brands to redesign their products, by building containers to last with durability to stand the test of time. For manufacturers, the packaging is seen as a cost but now it can be an asset. Innovative reusable packaging can be both beautiful and useful.
Where will Loop be available?
Loop is set to launch in major urban centers with plans to spread out to rural areas in the future. The pilot will start in New York City and Paris later this year. So people in and around those cities will be able to give Loop a try first. The question is: how far and wide can this go?
With the international reach of delivery companies like UPS, the potential for global adoption is really extraordinary.
Why we need to care
Loop presents an alternative way to produce and consume. By changing how products are packaged to enable and inspire responsible consumption.
“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.”
Tom Szaky, CEO and co-founder of TerraCycle
Although we are still in the initial phase, as more communities get involved and more brands get onboard, the potential for Loop to become mainstream is sensational.
Coming soon to Canada
For Canadians, the good news is that a major retailer is slated to launch a test of reusable packaging in the Greater Toronto Area. Meaning that residents within a 200- to 300-hundred kilometre radius of Canada’s largest metropolis will have the opportunity to try out Loop. Although the chain’s identity is currently unknown, it is expected to be unveiled this spring and begin online operations by year-end. Something to look forward to, eh?
Get on the waitlist today!
The countdown is on with Loop launching in the Spring 2019 in the United States and France. As more people get involved we can change the world by going from disposable to durable. For future updates, you can register at Loopstore.com to be part of this innovative solution to the problem of waste.
Stay tuned to The Electric Blog! where we will be bringing you more updates on the Loop initiative in Canada and beyond…