Loop — the past and future of reusable packaging

June 03, 2019

A visit from the milkman

You’d better believe we’ve seen our fair of packaging advancements here at Ernest. Back when we opened our doors over 70 years ago, milk was delivered to your house in thick glass bottles. These days people are drinking out of seaweed bubbles! For as much as our industry has changed over the years, there are still people who have a soft spot for the old days. One company is trying to make packaging’s future look a lot like its past.

Reusable packaging for breakfast

Image courtesy of Loop

Loop is a concept for cutting down our reliance on single-use plastics and reintroducing reusable packaging to our daily lives. It’s a pretty simple system to understand: Loop delivers everyday products to your door in durable, reusable containers rather than disposable plastic ones.

Once you use the product, you simply toss the empty packaging back inside the bag they came in. When your next delivery arrives on your doorstep, the delivery person picks up your previous bag to send back to Loop for cleaning and reuse. Loop’s parent company TerraCycle has been in the recycling game for over 15 years, so their system is a completely closed loop… see what they did there??

UPS delivers a Loop Tote

Image courtesy of Loop

Closed loop systems are nothing new. At Ernest we’ve been preaching their virtues for decades: reusable packaging gets collected and handed back to manufacturers, then that same packaging ends up right back in the hands of consumers. It’s a sustainable no-brainer if you can pull it off like Ernest has — and it looks like TerraCycle’s CEO Tom Szaky has his eye on the prize.

“I’m going to measure the success of Loop not on its revenue, but by what percent of your wallet has moved from being a disposable vote to a reusable one,” says Szaky. Key to his eco-friendly vision is the Loop Tote, the zero-waste delivery bag where you’ll receive and then dispose of your products. The Tote is insulated and reusable, cutting down on cardboard and disposable freezer packs.

This all sounds like a major win for sustainability, but the strength of a solution is only as good as the backing it receives from the public. Thankfully Loop already has some powerful partners at its side to make their eco-friendly dreams a reality. You’ll soon see Loop’s reusable containers in your bathroom thanks to Crest and Gillette, the laundry room courtesy of Tide and Febreze, and even your freezer with Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

Ice cream in reusable packaging

Image courtesy of Loop

Loop just launched in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. You better believe we’ll be keeping a close eye on the public’s reaction! At Ernest Packaging Solutions we have years of expertise with closed loop systems — get in touch with us when you’re ready to make a sustainable change for your own brand!