Getting in the loop for a sustainable planet

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Loop: for sustainable packaging
By Jerry Brownstein
The biggest brand name companies are also the largest producers of plastic trash, and they face mounting public pressure to curb their environmental footprints. As a result, some of the world's largest food, beverage and consumer goods companies have partnered with recycling giant TerraCycle to launch an ambitious e-commerce platform to tackle single-use waste. It’s called Loop, and here is how it works. Goods such as Pantene shampoo, Tropicana orange juice and Häagen-Dazs ice cream will come in sturdy, reusable glass bottles or stainless steel containers. Instead of throwing away the packaging once it is empty, customers use the Loop app to schedule a pick-up from their home. The items are then collected, cleaned, and ready to be used again.

Tom Szaky, the head of TerraCycle says, “Through Loop, consumers will be able to responsibly consume products in specially-designed durable, reusable packaging.” So far they have partnered with many large firms including Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Danone, Carrefour, Tesco and others. The service has been launched this year (2019) with projects in Paris, New York and other parts of the north-eastern US. This will be followed by programs in the UK, Toronto, Tokyo and California.

TerraCycle is a world leader in recycling waste, but they created Loop because they felt that recycling is not the final answer to our waste problems. According to Mr Szaky: “We realized that recycling and using recycled content is about trying to do the best you can with waste, but it's not solving the foundational reason that we have waste. We did a lot of reflection and realized that the basic cause of garbage is disposability and single-use. We tried to come up with a way to solve disposability yet maintain its virtues which are convenience and affordability.”

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