Product, Service & Design Innovation
EPR in Action:
TerraCycle, CPG Giants Close ‘Loop’ on Single-Use Packaging

A first-of-its-kind, global shopping platform, Loop™ aims to offer zero-waste packaging options for the world’s most popular consumer products.

Just a week after the launch of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste — a cadre of global companies from the plastics, chemicals and CPG value chain that has banded together to advance solutions to environmental plastic waste — a coalition of the largest consumer product companies, along with international recycling leader TerraCycle, today unveiled a first-of-its-kind, global shopping system called Loop™. The initiative is designed to change the world’s reliance on single-use packaging and offer a convenient and enhanced circular solution to consumers, while securing meaningful environmental benefits. 

Launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Loop will enable consumers to responsibly consume a variety of products in customized, brand-specific, durable packaging that is collected, cleaned, refilled and reused. The content, if recoverable, will be either recycled or reused.

The idea for Loop was founded at the World Economic Forum by TerraCycle and consumer product companies Beiersdorf, BIC, The Body Shop, Burlap & Barrel Single Origin Spices, The Clorox Company, Coca-Cola European Partners, CoZie, Danone, Greenhouse, Grilliance, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Mars Petcare, Mondelēz International, Nature’s Path, Nestlé, People Against Dirty, PepsiCo, Preserve, Procter & Gamble (P&G), RB, Reinberger Nut Butter, Teva Deli, Thousand Fell and Unilever. Additional partners are leading food retailer Carrefour as the founding retailer, with leading UK retailer Tesco to pilot Loop in the UK later in the year; along with primary transportation company UPS and sustainable resource management company Suez.

This approach to shopping was made possible as a result of innovation investments made by the founding partners, and their commitment to developing more circular supply chains from package design to manufacturing through consumer use. The aim was to offer a zero-waste option for the world’s most popular consumer products while maintaining affordability, improving convenience and returning used disposable or durable items to a circular life cycle either through reuse or recycling. The environmental benefits of Loop durable packaging vs. single-use packaging have been proven and verified in Life Cycle Assessments under usage pattern assumptions that will be further validated in pilots scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2019 in France and the northeastern United States. Additional markets are expected to launch throughout 2019 and 2020.

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“As a response to the global challenge in managing waste and the opportunity to improve consumers’ experience, a group of committed global brands, retailers, infrastructure companies, along with the World Economic Forum have come together to create a new way to more responsibly consume products.” said TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky. “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.”

How Loop works:

  • Shop: Consumers will go to the Loop website or Loop partner retailer’s websites and shop for trusted brands now redesigned to be packaging waste-free. 

  • Receive: Consumers receive their durable products in Loop’s exclusively designed shipping tote that eliminates the need for single-use shipping materials such as cardboard boxes.

  • Enjoy: Consumers experience elegance and convenience all while eliminating the idea of throw-away packaging waste.

  • Loop picks up: There is no need to clean and dispose of the package; as consumers finish their products, they place the empty package into one of their Loop totes, which Loop will pick up directly from their home.  

  • Loop cleans: Loop’s team of scientists has developed custom cleaning technologies so that each product packaging may be safely reused.

  • Loop refills, recycles or reuses: Loop promptly replenishes products as needed and returns the refilled shipping totes to the consumer. If there is recoverable product, it will be reused or recycled. 

“At P&G, we are building on 180 years of innovation and world-class consumer insight to enable responsible consumption at scale,” said Virginie Helias, VP and Chief Sustainability Officer at P&G, also part of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. “Through leading brands such as Pantene, Tide and Cascade, we have developed new, durable and refillable packaging that is delivered in a waste-free and hassle-free way as part of the LOOP platform.”

Along with the P&G brands Helias mentioned as being included in the service, Crest, Ariel and Febreze are also available in durable, refillable packaging; and toothbrush heads by Oral-B, and razors and blades by Venus and Gillette will be recycled by the service. And Pampers and Always will be test-collecting used hygiene products from consumer homes for further recycling, using groundbreaking, proprietary technology developed by Fater — a P&G and Angelini Group Joint Venture — that turns used absorbent hygiene products into secondary raw materials for higher-value applications.

Roberta Barbieri, Sustainability VP at PepsiCo, commented: “Taking action to design our packaging to be recyclable and reusable is a critical goal of our Performance with Purpose agenda; and as we look to build a PepsiCo where plastics need never become waste, we are also exploring a number of ideas to reinvent the ways consumers can enjoy our products. Our participation in Loop builds on this commitment as well as providing the added convenience of e-commerce and home delivery.

“Initially we will be launching Quaker and Tropicana offerings in Paris, and have created vessels which we hope will excite our consumers, combining durability with high aesthetic design. As we work towards our sustainable packaging goals, we will continue to explore our own in-house innovations as well as participate in collaborative efforts to reduce waste.”

Brands are responsible for designing their own packaging; TerraCycle consults on the packaging development process and tests all packaging for cleanability and durability prior to approval in the platform. The lifespan of each package will vary, as variables including aesthetics can cause a package to be taken out of circulation and recycled.

“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 reuse," said Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. "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.”

Loop already offers hundreds of products across its two dozen partners; as partners are added, this number will constantly increase.

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