Loop: piloting waste-free shopping
The growing challenge of plastic in the environment means it is more urgent than ever to find solutions to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover ‘post-consumer’ plastic waste.In January 2019, we announced our participation in Loop™ – an innovative waste-free shopping and delivery model for reusable packaging innovations and refillable product formats. Products are shipped directly to consumers and are then returned and refilled. The system brings together major brands and retailers with the idea of shifting from a model that is ‘disposable’ (where packaging is thrown away or recycled after use) to one that is ‘durable’ (where packaging is reused and any leftover product is either recycled or reused).
Nine of our brands are participating in the pilot in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the US and in Paris, France: Axe, Dove, Hellmann’s, Love Beauty and Planet, Love Home and Planet, REN Clean Skincare, Rexona, Seventh Generation and Signal. Dove, Rexona and Axe will test a premium, refillable deodorant stick called minim™. Made from stainless steel, the design is minimal, compact and sustainable. Depending on use, the product will last on average one month, with the packaging designed to last at least 100 cycles, around eight years in total.
Our other new format – from Signal – is refillable toothpaste tablets, which require less water than normal toothpaste, but are designed to be used in the same way. You chew, brush as usual and rinse. They come in a recyclable, refillable jar which means there’s no packaging or product waste.
Loop™ is the result of a coalition of large companies including other manufacturers, as well as the retailer Carrefour, courier UPS and resource management company SUEZ, along with TerraCycle, a leader in recycling. All partners have the same goal: to develop supply chains that are more ‘circular’ from design through to consumer use. The materials differ for each product, but most use glass or aluminium and all are fully recyclable. The initial lifecycle analysis (LCA) showed that Loop™ has the potential to substantially reduce consumer waste and GHG emissions and we will use the pilot to update the LCA.
We believe Loop™ will complement our existing efforts to create a packaging system that is truly circular by design. We can’t create a circular economy for consumer goods in isolation. No business can. That’s why partnerships like Loop™ are important.
To deliver the necessary change, at scale, we must work with others on a complete transformation of how we think, use and dispose of packaging, and build new supply chains which support refill and reuse systems. This means working together to test new business models which require a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour and in the way we deliver goods in-store and via e-commerce channels.