Some of the world’s biggest food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical companies, courier company UPS, and recycling titan TerraCycle have formed an ambitious e-commerce partnership to end the tsunami of single-use plastics like shampoo bottles and beverage containers that continue to flood into landfills and the world’s oceans.
Announced last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Loop initiative will allow consumers to order products that arrive at their door in stainless steel containers, reports EcoWatch. Once the containers are empty, they’ll be returned to sender in a purpose-built shipping tote to be cleaned, refilled, and sent out again.
With an approach that EcoWatch calls “a modern spin on the classic milkman model,” the project brings together industry heavyweights like Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, The Body Shop, Unilever, and Mondelēz.
The big corporate buy-in owes to the very bad press companies have been receiving as public awareness spreads that “the biggest brands are the biggest producers of plastic trash,” and social licence to pollute in this way evaporates, EcoWatch states. It also coincides with a ban on foreign recyclables in China that has left many countries, including the United States, with growing stockpiles of trash.
Loop is expected to launch in Paris and New York in May, in the United Kingdom later this year, and in Toronto, Tokyo, and California in 2020.