Already launched in France with Carrefour and the United States with Kroger and Walgreens, Loop’s waste-free e-commerce model would soon be rolled out in Germany, Canada, Japan and Australia. Designed by TerraCycle – a private US recycling and waste management company – Loop worked with brands to redesign packaging into durable and reusable formats and offered these online to consumers, in partnership with large retailers.
Among the collection of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands available on the UK platform – spanning food, drink, household cleaning and beauty – there were seven personal care brands: Nivea Men, Love Beauty and Planet, REN Clean Skincare, Bulldog Skincare, Beauty Kitchen, Molten Brown, and Noice Natural Toothpaste.
Convenient and responsible beauty retail
Loop said its pilot UK programme with retail partner Tesco meant consumers could “conveniently order and responsibly consume” a wide variety of products, including shampoos, soaps, moisturisers and toothpaste – all offered in durable refillable packaging.
Consumers were required to pay a deposit fee on each piece of packaging that was then fully refunded to them upon final return – done so either through a home pick-up or drop-off at more than 2,500 collection points across the UK.
Loop then sorted and professionally cleaned the packaging to “stringent health and safety standards” so that each product could be safely refilled by the manufacturer. “Cleaned and refilled products are simultaneously replenished as needed to the consumer, creating a convenient and safe zero-waste shopping system,” Loop said.
The eventual goal was to also make these reusable, durable formats available in-store across Tesco’s UK network next year.
Is mass beauty ready for durable?
Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of Loop and TerraCycle, said Loop had been “designed from the ground-up” as a means to reinvent consumption. The concept had considered learnings from “historic circular and sustainable models like the milkman from yesteryear” whilst at the same time honouring “the convenience afforded by our single-use consumption of today”.
Szaky previously told sister site CosmeticsDesign that in the last two years, the beauty and personal care industry had certainly opened its eyes to this and now understood the “crisis mode” and need to move away from single-use packaging.
And Amanda Balada, business development manager at TerraCycle Europe, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe last year that consumers were increasingly interested in alternative and durable package offerings.
“It’s true that consumers are more and more aware about sustainability, in general, and they are really purchasing products taking into consideration sustainable options,” Balada said.
“…They understand that durable is better than recyclable or reduced packaging, even if it’s single-use. I would say there’s a trend starting from consumers to move from disposability to durability.”