Our oceans have become more acidic, marine life is dying at a dramatic rate, and nearly every sea bird has been found to have plastic ingested. To top it off, we are now breathing microplastic through the air. We need a solution now! Can Loop be the answer to single-use plastic?
What is Loop?
Single-use packaging and product waste are among the most pervasive and rapidly growing issues facing our planet today. We live in the plastic age, and it is swallowing us whole. However, plastic production is supposed to increase by another 20% by the end of 2020. This is where Loop comes in.
Loop is bringing back the milkman for the 21 century. But this time, he/she will not only deliver milk. No, this time is going to be different. Loop is tackling a much bigger problem than just the convenience of getting items delivered straight to your home door. Going from throw away products to reusable.
TerraCycle’s Tom Sazky is the brains behind this operation. His company has been recycling items that are considered hard to recycle for years. (Think juice boxes, coffee capsules, cigarette butts, and plastic gloves) and turn them into new products. TerraCycle was founded in 2001. It has since partnered up with many businesses and municipalities in over 20 countries.
Loop is a step in the right direction. While the concept is nothing new, big brands like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Danone, Mars Petcare, Mondelēz International, and others are teaming up with Loop to create reusable packaging and go zero waste.
The service was launched in France’s northern region surrounding Paris and in the New York region, including parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Essentially, it will be an e-commerce platform where people can shop from selected big brands and pay a little deposit extra for the reusable packaging. The packaging Tom Sazry says is designed to be at least reused 100 times. No signup fees or hidden costs.
How it works
- Jump on the website loopstore.com
- Order your products currently only 300, but this number will soon change, we hope.
- No membership fees or any hidden fees.
- Pay a small, fully refundable one time deposit to borrow the package.
- Receive your products in the Loop tote bag/cooler.
- Enjoy your products.
- Once they are empty, just place them back in the Loop tote bag and organize a free pickup.
- Loop will clean and refill your products.
When you run out or are done using the product, you can return it and get your deposit back or request a refill if you damage the packaging, no problem. Loop is still going to take it back. You only lose your deposit if you lose the packaging. Make sense, right? Don’t stress if it is severely damaged. TerraCycle, who is handling the logistic part, will recycle them into new products.
That’s it, really quick and simple, and the packaging looks amazing as if Apple helped with some of the design.
What is available?
There are currently around 300 products available in durable, reusable containers; many created especially for Loop. Since this is just the start of the company, there will be many more in the future.
From mouthwash to ice cream with specially designed packaging to keep you ice cream colder for longer, a newly designed toothbrush where the handle is reusable, and the head will be thrown out.
How about a diaper bin that has a carbon filter so it doesn’t smell inside.
In France, Loop is testing a bin for your kid’s diapers and menstrual pads. The hygiene items, which are traditionally thrown out, are recycled, while the bin is sanitized and sent out again.
The engineering challenge.
Partner companies have to create new products that can survive 100 reuses. That is the goal set by Sazky. While it is definitely achievable, it could cost in the seven figures to create.
“Some things can definitely meet that,” Zultner said, adding that if the packages are reused at least 10 times, they’re probably still better for the environment than single-use plastics.
Carbon emissions from trucking and other factors could outweigh the environmental benefits of Loop if packages are only reused a few times, or if the transportation system is too spread out. Loop has conducted life-cycle analyses to try to estimate the environmental impact in a variety of situations. ~CNN
How can we join?
Loop is currently experiencing high demand for participation in the program, which is great. The service is basically in the beta phase and currently only available in the Northeast of the United States and Paris.
You can sign up for the international waiting list here.
I did it right away, and on their website, they are saying that Canada, Germany, Japan, and the UK are next. I really wish the best for those guys and that it works out.
Who is it for?
This is huge and especially because those companies are some of the main polluters in the world, and since they print their names on what kills and pollutes, there is a lot at stake for them to clean up this mess—a great opportunity for those to make a big impact in the right direction.
Overall, I think the concept is a great way to tackle the plastic pollution problem, and I was very excited to hear that big companies are jumping on board.
Since we know exactly who the main contributors to the plastic pollution problem are, the names are all nicely written on the products. It is only understandable that these companies are trying their best to wash their names clean. And maybe they have a shot here within the Loop system.