We’ve got a problem. A plastic problem. You see, it turns out that plastic is not so fantastic after all – far from, in fact. It’s causing international mayhem, filling up our oceans, clogging up landfills and taking a detrimental toll on marine life.
And while the beauty industry and beyond have been working hard to come up with innovative solutions to our plastic problem, especially ditching single-use plastic items and upping our recycling game, the unfortunate fact remains that we rely on the stuff in many of our every day items. Up until now, certain types of plastic were only recyclable at specialist recycling plants, and others were classed as nothing more than rubbish and went straight to the dump – or into the oceans.
However, last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a truly innovative solution that involved thinking outside the box of traditional packaging and recycling was announced. Introducing LOOP, the new initiative that’s going to change the way we shop forever.
LOOP was started by TerraCycle and a coalition of the world’s biggest consumer brands (Procter Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Coca Cola and dozens more, including luxury skincare brand REN) and aims to provide a multi-brand shopping platform featuring all of our favourite everyday brands in packaging that is fully reusable.
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It works like this; you go on to the LOOP website and select your items. These items are then delivered by LOOP in specially designed (reusable) tote bags, similar to any other delivery service. The difference is that you pay a small, fully refundable deposit on the packaging of each item. When you’ve finished it, you simply pop the empty packaging back in the LOOP tote, and it’s collected, taken back to the factory and washed in a special way so that it is fully reusable and ready to be re-filled. Think of it as renting your packaging – or like a modern day milk man, delivering and collecting milk bottles, washing them and reusing them.
And for those who are still unconvinced, the prototypes of the new packaging are extremely impressive. Think Häagen-Dazs in slick, always-cold steel containers. Shelfie-worthy glass bottles for your mouthwash. In other words, packaging so beautiful, you would never want to throw it away…