Loop Reusable Packaging: Multi-Use Grocery Packaging

Loop reusable packaging scheme is taking a groundbreaking approach to how we purchase groceries. Refillable containers could soon become a standard part of the weekly food shop with pilot schemes launching at Tesco in the UK, and Woolworths in Australia.

Reusable eCommerce packaging is a rapidly developing market, with companies like Repack and Packoorang developing solutions to remove single-use external packaging. But what about the product packaging itself? Loop reusable product packaging looks to address the issue of single-use food packaging.

Within the grocery sector, the packaging for food and beverages is essential but also highly damaging to the environment. Loop is looking to revolutionise this by working with some of the worlds leading brands and supermarkets in creating a reusable system for food and drinks containers.

Loop Reusable Packaging: How does it work?

The Loop reusable packaging system works through partnerships with leading brands like Haagen-Dazs ice-cream, Tide washing detergent, and Crest toothpaste, to name just a few, in creating reusable containers for their products. These containers are designed to be reused multiple times, while also meeting the brand’s requirements in terms of product design.

Consumers buy their desired products as usual, with a small fully-refundable deposit to cover the reusable container. Once consumers have used up the product, they return the containers and swap for a full one. The returned containers are then cleaned and refilled with product to be resold.

Loop Reusable Packaging Containers
Loop Reusable Packaging Containers. Source:

Alongside the product themselves, orders are waste-free and delivered to customers in Loop reusable tote bags. These tote bags are then refilled by consumers with the empty reusable containers are picked up with the next delivery.

Within the online grocery sector growing rapidly, the Loop reusable packaging scheme has the potential to revolutionise the way we package and purchase products. Coresight Research US Online Grocery Survey 2020 reports that the online grocery sector will grow by 40% in 2020 as a result of COVID, to a market share of 3.5%, or nearly $38 billion USD in revenue. This equates to an astronomical amount of packaging that could be saved by the Loop scheme.

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UK: Tesco x Loop Pilot Scheme 

UK Supermarket giant Tesco has teamed up with TerraCycle, the parent company of Loop, to launch the Loop reusable packaging shopping platform in the UK. Loop will enable Tesco shoppers to purchase refillable versions of food and drink, health and beauty and cleaning products online.

The trial launch of the zero-waste platform was initially planned for March of this year, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, TerraCycle and Tesco have decided to postpone the pilot. 

The Loop trial will allow customers to apply for the service by clicking on a link on the Tesco website. They will then be able to order and have their zero-waste products delivered via courier firm DPD. Shoppers can choose from 150 items which are a part of the trial scheme, and which will be delivered in reusable containers paid for by a deposit. 

Loop will then receive the used packaging for cleaning. They’ve teamed up with DHL to secure warehouse space for sanitisation, deposit return scanning, and cleaning of containers for return to manufacturers. Loop planned the trial so that the containers are not cleaned by the consumer, so that it is as easy to use the containers as single-use packaging.

Tesco is the perfect partner to bring Loop to retail in the UK due to its commitment to sustainability, in combating plastics waste, and its operational scale as the UK’s biggest grocery retailer.” Tom Szaky, the chief executive of Loop, said that:

Tom Szaky, Chief Executive, Loop

Of the 150 items included in the pilot scheme, some big-name brands are taking part including:

  • Heinz
  • Coca Cola
  • Persil
  • Danone 
  • Nivea

Australia: Woolworths x Loop Pilot Scheme

Woolworths will launch as Loop’s exclusive retail partner in Australia in 2021. The pilot scheme will test the Loop reusable packaging system, allowing Australian consumers to purchase their favourite brands that have been redesigned with durable containers – suitable for reuse.

Loop Reusable Packaging Woolworths Australia Collaboration
Loop Reusable Packaging x Woolworths Australia Collaboration. Source:

The aim is to make this service available both online and instore, with the empty containers either dropped back at a local store or picked up with the next online delivery.

“Our customers are increasingly telling us they want products that are good for them, and good for the planet.  We are pleased to be working with innovative partners like TerraCycle to lead the way in offering new and cutting-edge solutions to cut down on plastic waste. Helping bring Loop to Australia is a further step in our long term ambition to reduce our impact on the environment and support a circular economy.” 

Alex Holt, General Manager of Quality, Health & Sustainability, Woolworths

Is Loop Reusable Packaging the future?

Tesco has stated that they are planning to remove one billion pieces of plastic from products sold in UK stores by the end of 2020. This commitment, along with the Loop trial scheme, follows several companies who have already made moves towards more environmentally-friendly packaging.

Drinks company Diageo is planning on trialling Johnnie Walker whisky in paper bottles from next year, and beer giant Carlsberg is already in the process of developing a paper beer bottle. Other supermarkets have been trialling refill schemes similar to Loop Reusable Packaging, after customer concerns about the environmental impact of packaging. Waitrose, another UK supermarket, had a pilot refill scheme in place last year. 

Although it is currently just at trial stage in UK and Australia, Loop’s reusable packaging platform could be a welcome permanent change implemented by both Tesco and Woolworths. The consumer demand is making retail giants consider the amount of plastic waste its products produce. Companies must be sure not to substitute plastic packaging for materials that could be equally, if not more damaging to the environment, so the Loop Reusable Packaging scheme certainly ticks many boxes for the future progression of packaging.

Further Reading: Tide Eco-Box: Sustainable eCommerce Packaging. Read More

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