The Kroger Co. plans to pilot a reusable packaging system for leading consumer brands in an exclusive grocery retail partnership with Loop US LLC, a circular online shopping platform developed by waste management firm TerraCycle.
Kroger, along with retail pharmacy chain Walgreens, will be the first U.S. retailers to employ the Loop system, the companies said. Loop officially launched its U.S. program Tuesday in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Products available via the Loop platform come packaged in reusable glass or metal containers and are shipped directly to consumers in a specially designed tote bag. After use, the products are collected free from consumers’ homes and then cleaned, refilled and reused.
Participating customers in the selected markets will be able to shop more than 100 products — including food, beverages, health and beauty care, and nonfood items — that were redesigned with brand-specific, durable containers. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies taking part in the Loop U.S. pilot include giants Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestle, PepsiCo, The Clorox Co., Colgate-Palmolive, RB (Reckitt Benckiser) and SC Johnson.
Other participating companies/brands include Soapply, Melanin Essentials, International Harvest, Purely Elizabeth, The Body Shop, Greenhouse, Preserve, Teva Deli, Nature’s Path, Burlap & Barrel, Reinberger Nut Butter, The Honest Company, WellPet, Bilal’s EasyKale, Arbor Teas and ECOS.
Cincinnati-based Kroger noted that the partnership with Loop is part of its efforts to scale back single-use plastics under its Zero Hunger|Zero Waste plan.
"Our commitment to innovative solutions on our path to Zero Hunger|Zero Waste aligns perfectly with Loop's mission to create a convenient circular packaging platform for consumers," Jessica Adelman, group vice president of corporate affairs at Kroger, said in a statement. "Customers are increasingly seeking out sustainable products and services that fit their lifestyle. As the exclusive grocery retail partner for Loop in the U.S., Kroger is taking another big step toward a world with zero waste."
To shop for the products, consumers go online to www.loopstore.com, www.thekrogerco.com/loop or www.walgreens.com/loop to place an order, which they will receive in the special Loop shipping tote. Once the items are used, customers place the empty containers into the totes and go online to schedule a pickup from their home.
Loop said it uses cutting-edge technology to clean the products so they can be safely reused, and items are promptly replenished to consumers as needed.
"Walgreens is excited about this opportunity to help consumers purchase sustainably packaged products and contribute to a healthier planet," stated Lauren Brindley, group vice president of beauty and personal care at Walgreens. "Innovative collaborations with partners like Loop are critical to solving the complex issue of reducing single-use plastics. Our customers look to us to innovate so that together we can reduce waste and increase reuse."
Down the road, the companies plan to expand the selection of Loop products for purchase online as well as make the platform available to customers in additional Kroger and Walgreens markets. Kroger added that, depending on the consumer response, it may work with Loop to create “an in-store Loop experience” in a Kroger community.
"Loop was designed from the ground-up to reinvent the way we consume by leveraging the sustainable, circular milkman model of yesterday with the convenience of e-commerce," commented Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of Loop and Trenton, N.J.-based TerraCycle. "TerraCycle came together with dozens of major consumer product companies from P&G to Nestle to Unilever, the World Economic Forum, logistics and transportation company UPS and leading retailers Kroger and Walgreens to create a simple and convenient way to enjoy a wide range of products, customized in brand-specific durable and reusable packaging."
Last week, Loop and French retailer Carrefour announced the launch of a similar test serving Paris, according to Colgate, one of more than 25 CPG companies participating in the Loop pilot. The New York-based manufacturer said it’s now developing durable package designs and plans to begin the test with mouthwash. Based on learnings in the U.S., France, later this year in London and in ensuing pilots, Colgate aims to extend the Loop packaging to other oral care products and additional CPG categories.