Tesco & Loop Launch Refillable Containers Scheme For 150 Popular Products
Humanity’s addiction to single-use packaging has consequences. People are getting sick from how they burn the plastic in landfills, and animals are dying. Today, it’s hard to imagine a world without single-use plastic, but before the 1950s, there was no such thing. Products were made to be higher quality so they could be reused and refilled – for example, “the milkman.” If something broke, it was repaired or repurposed whenever possible, and things were handed down to each generation. Now, we produce and buy seventy times more stuff, and 99% of it becomes waste within the first year of purchase.
In efforts to curb this destructive cycle, Tesco has teamed up with Loop to provide a new eco-friendly packaging service for its environmentally conscious customers. The scheme, which allows people to order products in refillable containers and send back the empties when done to be reused, will start as an online shopping service and eventually be available at the supermarkets too.
At the moment, there are 150 popular products to choose from, including Danone yogurts, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Coca Cola, cereals, chocolate, soap, and washing detergents. When you order an item, it gets delivered straight to your doorstep. When you’re done with the thing, they pick up the container, and Loop professionally cleans it so it can be refilled, and the product can once again be delivered. No new packaging waste is created. It even uses less energy and resources than recycling since it only requires the object to be cleaned and transported to begin its cycle again.
Loop makes it possible for people to buy a zero-waste version of everyday essentials from everybody’s favorite brands. It explains on its website:
Why own a product’s packaging (and have to throw it away when you’re done), when all we really want is the stuff inside? With Loop, temporarily place a 100% refundable deposit to borrow the packaging, and we’ll professionally clean and reuse it once you’re finished.
Environmental campaign groups, like Greenpeace and WWF, welcomed the move.
Louise Edge, a senior campaigner at Greenpeace, said:
Replacing throwaway packaging with refillable containers won’t just help stem plastic pollution and protect wildlife. By preventing swaps from single-use plastic to cardboard, it helps protect our forests too. Plus, reuse can deliver a reduction in greenhouse gases, so it’s a win-win-win for the environment.
Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF, said:
There needs to be a cultural shift, from a society that is reliant on disposable products and packaging, to one that embraces a circular model. “At the heart of this is reusability, which is why Tesco’s Loop trial is a welcome first step in understanding how initiatives like this could work at scale in the future.
The new Tesco service is only available in the mainland UK (sign up here) for now, but the companies expect it will be a great success, and they’ll expand. The plan is to have loop products available worldwide, at a wide array of mass retailers, restaurants, and specialty shops. That way, people can access products anywhere, and there will be a large-scale network of drop-off points to return empty packaging. The goal is to swiftly make returning a reusable container as easy as throwing something away.
Aside from Loop’s system, other supermarkets have been trialing reuse and refill schemes in different ways. For example, Waitrose was allowing customers to bring their containers to fill up with items such as pasta, frozen fruit, and beer from dispensers in the store.
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