The world’s biggest brands want you to see those everyday household products in a different light. The shampoo bottle, the deodorant stick, razors and even your toothbrush—they all get thrown away when they’re empty or worn out. But if they were reusable—or refillable—just imagine how much waste could be avoided.
That’s the goal of “Loop,” a durable packaging initiative run by New Jersey-based recycling company TerraCycle that debuted at the World Economic Forum earlier this year. This week, Loop began its U.S. trial, allowing consumers to use steel, glass and durable plastic reusable packaging for everyday items. Kroger Co. and Walgreens, along with such consumer brands as Procter & Gamble, Nestle, The Clorox Co. and Unilever, are taking part.
The project’s name is a reference to an aspirational economy where nothing is wasted. Loop’s goal is to show how easily consumers can lessen the damage done by throwaway plastic, paper, glass and cardboard. About 80 percent of all plastic ends up in landfills or the ocean, and grocery packaging actually creates more waste than plastic bags and straws.
For the trial, Loop is available online to customers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. You can order products made by the participating companies that will be delivered to you in special reusable packaging. Under the program, manufacturers have redesigned product containers for some of their most well-known products.
Loop will collect a refundable deposit, sometimes $5 to $10, that customers will get back when they return their containers. UPS will pick up your empties for no additional charge.
TerraCycle invested about $10 million in the project. Procter & Gamble has unveiled its Crest mouthwash in a sleek glass bottle—with a rubber base to prevent breakage. It also has non-electric Oral B toothbrushes that have a head that pops off so users can keep the base and replace the brush. But it was the stainless steel ice cream container for Nestle’s Haagen-Dazs (which isn’t too cold to the touch but keeps ice cream cool longer) that was the crowd favorite at a Manhattan rollout this week.