As reported on in a recent Fast Company article, Loop, Terracycle’s reusable packaging platform, is expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint with retailer pilot tests worldwide — including Kroger (US), Tesco (UK), Carrefour (France), and Aeon (Japan). 

In addition to specially designed reusable containers, Loop has started to include products that already have reusable packaging, like Gerber baby food in glass jars. 

Store pilots dedicate areas of the store to Loop-qualifying SKUs, supported with specific signage and the presence of Loop ambassadors as the program launches.

Along with other reusable packaging initiatives, Loop’s growing presence in physical retail is likely to fuel a more mainstream consumer conversation about packaging waste. Hartman Group sustainability research, just released in our Sustainability 2021: Environment and Society in Focus report, finds consumers even more concerned about packaging than ever before. As noted in Sustainability 2021:

The great expansion of e-commerce — including online grocery — in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has put consumers face-to-face with a pile of packaging. From shipping boxes that are too large for their contents to unnecessary plastics that consumers can’t recycle to simply too many packages at the doorstep, consumers have taken notice of both the amount and the wasteful nature of the packaging that arrives with the goods, including food, they purchase for delivery.

The high-profile introduction of Loop options is key because most consumers care about waste but struggle to incorporate it into purchase decisions at point of sale. However, critics of Loop argue that although it’s well intentioned, it also gives excuses for large corporations to keep using plastics. 

Ultimately, Loop’s success will likely come down to consumer-facing usability and operational scalability.

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