Davos 2019: TerraCycle launches reusable and refillable packaging initiative for e-commerce

Davos 2019: TerraCycle launches reusable and refillable packaging initiative for e-commerce

24 Jan 2019 --- Recycling specialist TerraCycle has launched a first-of-its-kind reusable packaging home delivery service in partnership with a host of leading global brands. Taking place today in Davos at the World Economic Forum (WEF), the launch fuses e-commerce and sustainability in a way that a green-minded public has long been calling for. Consumers will be able to use durable, reusable or fully recyclable packaging made from materials such as alloys, glass and engineered plastics. Could this be a step closer to saying goodbye to single-use plastics?

Innovation in the booming e-commerce market must, arguably, go further than recyclability. Within the online groceries market alone, growth is occurring at a double-digit rate in the past years. However, the levels of waste in e-commerce packaging remain high, which coupled with extended fuel usage for personal deliveries, makes it a market with sustainability issues. Within the booming industry, only 2 percent of companies use reusable or returnable packaging models, according to Jan Berbee, Partner in the reusable packaging for e-commerce startup, RePack, tells PackagingInsights

Click to EnlargeGlobal giant P&G will be introducing reusable and refillable packaging on some of its most popular products. The freshly launched Loop is a global packaging and shopping circular solution which aims to offer an improved environmental performance compared to current e-commerce solutions. The basic premise of the initiative is that consumers will order their product, receive it via shipping then after use it will be picked up at their homes. The products are then cleaned, refilled and either reused or recycled. Available products range from detergent and toothbrushes to ice-cream and peanut butter. The platform will launch in Paris and New York in the spring of 2019.

Among the brands taking part are Procter & Gamble (P&G), Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars Petcare, The Clorox Company, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola European Partners, Mondelēz International, Danone, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lesieur, BIC, Beiersdorf, RB, People Against Dirty, Nature’s Path, Thousand Fell, Greenhouse, Grilliance, Burlap & Barrel Single Origin Spices, Reinberger Nut Butter, CoZie and Preserve.

“As a response to the global challenge in managing waste and the opportunity to improve consumers’ experience, a group of committed global brands, retailers, infrastructure companies, along with the World Economic Forum, have come together to create a new way to more responsibly consume products,” says TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky. 

“Loop will not just eliminate the idea of packaging waste, but greatly improve the product experience and the convenience in how we shop. Through Loop, consumers can now responsibly consume products in specially designed durable, reusable or fully recyclable packaging made from materials like alloys, glass and engineered plastics. When a consumer returns the packaging, it is refilled, or the content is reused or recycled through groundbreaking technology.”

Personal care
Global giant P&G will be introducing reusable and refillable packaging on some of its most popular products. An array of the company’s brands, including Pantene, Tide and Oral-B, will be participating.

  • Pantene is introducing a unique bottle made with lightweight, durable aluminum for its shampoo and conditioner.
  • Tide's purclean plant-based laundry detergent will be available in a new durable bottle made from stainless steel with a simple twist-cap and easy pour spout.
  • Cascade has developed a new ultra-durable packaging for Cascade ActionPacs which enable consumers to skip the prewash.
  • Ariel and Febreze are participating with durable, refillable packaging that is also available in stores, testing a new direct-to-consumer refill and reuse model.
  • Oral-B will test circular solutions for both its electric rechargeable and manual toothbrushes. Oral-B CLIC, a new iconic design for manual toothbrushes features a durable handle equipped with a unique mechanism that allows consumers to only exchange the brush head. The Loop platform will recycle used brush heads for both manual and electrical brushes.
  • Pampers and Always will test collecting used hygiene products from consumer homes for further recycling using ground-breaking proprietary technology developed by Fater, a P&G and Angelini Group Joint Venture. The technology turns used absorbent hygiene products into secondary raw materials for higher value applications.

“The time to act is now. We are passionate about harnessing the power of our global reach and the strength of our trusted global brands to scale-up more sustainable solutions. Transformative partnerships are key to achieve this mission as no one can succeed alone,” says Virginie Helias, P&G’s Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer.Click to EnlargeAmong the participating brands is also Nestlé’s Häagen-Dazs.

Food and beverage
Among the participating brands is also Nestlé’s Häagen-Dazs. With the launch of Loop, Häagen-Dazs is debuting a reusable stainless steel double-walled ice cream container, designed by Nestlé’s global research and development group in Bakersfield, US.

The design and transportation will keep the ice cream fresh and cold from the moment the canisters are filled until they are delivered to consumers’ homes, the company report. The canister also ensures that when it is opened, the ice cream melts more quickly at the top than at the bottom of the container. 

Consumers shopping for Häagen-Dazs on Loop can select from non-dairy options (Chocolate Salted Fudge, Coconut Caramel and Mocha Chocolate Cookie) or from traditional favorites (Vanilla or Strawberry) during the New York City pilot of the program, scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019. 

At the moment of the launch, no information on the costs of the initiatives on the participating consumer have been shared.

A key theme at the World Economic Forum is the adoption of a circular economy over a linear one. The Loop initiative is a clear example of how a rapidly growing market, which will undoubtedly continue to grow as the year continues, can adapt to sustainable calls. It no longer needs to be “business as usual.”

By Laxmi Haigh

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