While global awareness of plastic pollution is growing, the recycling industry is facing turmoil since China drastically restricted its waste import. In this context, reducing the waste we produce has become more than a lifestyle trend: companies are also adopting Zero Waste approaches. This is the case of Loop, an online platform which partnered with major consumer goods companies and retailers to design a circular delivery service.
Imagined by TerraCycle CEO Tom Skazy, Loop was presented last January at Davos World Economic Forum. The service will start to operate this Spring 2019 in Paris and New York.
The platform runs on a deposit system:
- At first purchase, clients pay a deposit fee and may opt for automatic renewals of the products if they wish to.
- Delivered in a specific bag with compartments, products have reusable packages especially designed with participating brands.
- Once consumed, empty packages are picked up for free by Loop (in partnership with UPS), washed, refilled and reintroduced in the circuit.
25 FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies like Procter & Gamble (Dash, Ariel, Gillette, Pampers), Nestlé (Nestea, Nesquick, Ricoré), Unilever (Axe, Dove, Omo, Skip, Persil), Danone and Coca-Cola as well as retailer Carrefour partnered with TerraCycle to create Loop. By engaging with trusted brands, Loop aims at making waste reduction more accessible and user friendly. Those multinational companies have invested 1 to 3 billion dollars each with an additional 250,000 dollars participation fee. Particularly involved in the approach, Carrefour committed in 2018 to reach 100% of reusable packaging for their own branded products by 2025. Loop is part of this effort along with the “bring your container” initiative and the introduction of bulk selling in the stores.
As any delivery system, Loop implies logistics, distance to be traveled and environmental transport coast. According to TerraCycle, the carbon footprint of products distributed on Loop becomes inferior to that of one-use products delivered by traditional eCommerce platforms after having been reused 5 times. Although Zero Waste France, the leading NGO on the topic in the country, commended the initiative, they regretted that the proximity to consumers of local producers and shops was not addressed in the model and fear a risk of greenwashing, if the initiative does not lean on a coherent approach to globally reduce one-use market.