From Davos: Terracycle Accelerates Circular Economy with Reusable Packaging

This past fall, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on how the world could limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – but only after undergoing “staggering transformation.” For companies, this means boldly eschewing “business as usual.” At the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, one company has announced a transformational innovation and has enlisted the help of some of the world’s largest companies to bring it to life.

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This week Terracycle, a U.S.-based company known for recycling hard-to-recycle products, launched “a new effort that aims to change the world’s reliance on single use packaging and disposable waste.” The innovation, called LOOP, is a “system of high-quality packaging that can be returned and refilled again and again” – effectively eliminating the need for one-time-use packaging. The model extends the life of packaging by instituting durable packaging that once used, is dropped in a specially-designed tote for pickup at home, then is cleaned and transformed into new packaging to repeat the cycle. LOOP has the backing of some major companies including Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Mondelēz, Danone, Carrefour, UPS and more.

In an announcement also made this week, P&G shared how it plans to implement LOOP among its brands. For example, P&G will introduce its Tide purclean plant-based laundry detergent in a new durable bottle made from stainless steel and the new Crest Platinum mouthwash will feature a sustainable, refillable glass bottle. For now, LOOP will launch in two markets: Ile-de-France and the New York region.

According to the EPA, packaging waste accounts for 30 percent of overall waste in the U.S. And with the continued rise of e-commerce – about 165 billion packages are shipped in the U.S. each year – that number is only primed to increase. Now, Terracycle seeks to break that cycle, working with name-brand, every day products to re-envision what we do with packaging and at the same time, create a more sustainable solution that shares responsibility.