Imitating a plan from a 1950s, one recycling company is working to trash disposable containers. A new subscription service delivers household goods in reusable containers. Then it’s collect, wash, refill, repeat—not too unlike the milkman service of the past.
TerraCycle is a global recycling leader. The company recycles products that people see as difficult or even impossible to recycle (think diapers, ink pens, razor blades) in some areas.
CEO Tom Szaky wants TerraCycle consumers to re-evaluate “the whole idea of disposability and single-use items.” To that end, the company developed a new service called Loop.
Szaky calls Loop “the future of consumption.” It follows the format of a midcentury “milkman.” But Loop delivers everything from shampoo to ice cream. Nestle, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, and other top brands are joining Loop, which is piloting in the United States and France.
Virginie Helias of Procter & Gamble thinks big. P&G has selected 10 brands to be a part of the Loop pilot program. But it won’t stop there. She says, “Our goal is that by 2030, all of our packaging will be reusable or recyclable.”
For starters, P&G’s Pantene shampoo will be delivered “in a beautifully decorated, lightweight-aluminum pump container.” Metal Tide bottles, glass Crest mouthwash containers, Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream in double-walled tubs: “The idea is ultra-durability, convenience, and also ultra-luxurious packaging,” Helias says.
Nestle is participating in Loop too. Laurent Freixe is CEO of the Americas Region of Nestle. He calls Loop “so innovative that we felt we had to be a part of it.” Nestle hopes to do away with all its non-recyclable packaging by 2025. Freixe says, “We have only one planet, and we have to take care of it for the long term.”
Freixe is correct. God created men and women to be caretakers of the Earth. (Genesis 1) When we’re good stewards of God’s resources, we honor Him.
Loop may not work for everyone. Shoppers who do use the service will have products delivered to their homes in specially designed shipping totes. They will pay a deposit on each container—which is refundable when it is returned for refilling. There may also be added delivery charges for the door-to-door service. Eventually, goods will also be available at retailers.
Loop intends to expand to the U.S. West Coast, Toronto, and the United Kingdom by the end of 2019 or early 2020. Japan is the next market—ideally in time for the 2020 Olympics.
Is there a downside to all this recycling? “More delivery trucks,” admits TerraCycle’s Szaky. But he adds, “Far fewer garbage trucks.”
In Szaky’s opinion, “Garbage shouldn’t exist.” Do you agree?