“Zero-waste” packaging may seem like an oxymoron, but that’s the vision of a new company working to create a sustainable ecosystem of goods for consumers and manufacturers. The New Jersey-based company, Loop, is leading the charge to create a world in which consumers buy products, but don’t have to throw away the packaging.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, landfills received 29.4 million tons of containers and packaging in 2015.
Loop blends the traditional milkman model with the convenience of online shopping by delivering products in durable containers (developed by brands) that are then returned to Loop to be cleaned, sanitized and used again.
Shoppers can choose from a list of 41 household brands—from Clorox to Hellmann’s Mayonnaise—and find those durably-packaged products at Loop’s two U.S. retail partners Kroger and Walgreens.
“In Loop, instead of the consumer owning the package, the consumer borrows the package and the package is always property of the manufacturer,” said Loop CEO Tom Szaky.
Szaky heads Loop, which launched its operation in Paris, France earlier this year, in addition to his other eco-friendly company, TerraCycle.
Szaky says Loop is building a circular shopping system that not only benefits the planet, but makes packaging a financial asset to the producers.
“The beauty is, I don’t have to have you believe in my products—they’re already the world’s best products,” Szaky said. “I don’t have to ask you to shop at a new store—it’s already like the stores you are shopping at. All I’m really asking you is: Would you like that in disposable or durable?”
Loop launched its U.S. pilot program on May 21 and has racked up roughly 60,000 sign-ups nationwide, said a company rep. The company’s pilot program received about 15,000 sign-ups across the Mid-Atlantic region and has 45,000 sign-ups on its waitlist for cities where Loop has yet to launch.