December 20, 2019

A closed-loop system for product packaging


Analyzing the strategy and potential impact of Loop’s packaging recovery system

A group of multinational corporations, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and PepsiCo, are launching a coordinated effort at eradicating waste from the e-commerce packaging supply chain. Loop seeks to create a closed-loop system for product packaging, representing a potential waste-free solution for consumer goods e-commerce packaging. 


The race to establish closed loops

The sustainability movement continues to flex its market power, influencing consumer buying decisions and creating lasting brand loyalty between shoppers and eco-friendly companies. The new goal: circular economies. Companies strive to create circular, closed-loop systems where packaging materials are recovered and reused, resulting in zero waste emitted. This idea has quickly become the pinnacle of organizational sustainability and the ultimate goal for businesses looking to go green.


A closed-loop system for product packaging: Loop

Loop’s system brings back a relic of the past, milkmen, to answer the challenge of reducing packaging waste. Consumers can shop online and purchase from a variety of consumer goods offered by partnering brands like Tide, Pantene, Haagen-Dazs, Crest, and Dove. All products arrive in 100% reusable packaging and after use, customers leave empty packaging containers on their doorstep to be collected by a Loop delivery service person, like next-generation milkmen. Loop then collects the materials, cleans, refills, and ships products back out to the consumer.

A closed-loop system for product packaging

Loop is the brainchild of TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky, who pitched the idea to corporate executives at the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, Switzerland in 2017. Szaky brought his plan to the major players in the consumer goods market, who also happen to stand accused by Greenpeace as the biggest polluters of the planet. By 2019, eight of the 10 companies exposed by Greenpeace had partnered with Loop.

Investing in reusability

Szaky’s pitch to brands revolved around the simple idea of investing in reusability. The sustainability movement has brought packaging front and center and now is the time to establish processes designed to adapt to a changing status quo. By partnering with Loop, these companies assume a level of responsibility for the end result of their packaging.

Instead of packaging becoming a problem for customers and communities, with Loop, companies retain responsibility for their product packaging throughout a product’s lifecycle. “We want to put an end to the current ‘take-make-dispose’ culture and are committed to taking big steps towards designing our products for re-use,” explains Unilever CEO Alan Jope.

Reusable packaging represents the foundation of these closed-loop ecosystems, allowing for continued product protection, recovery, and reuse. Loop ships products in durable packaging made from a variety of recyclable materials, including alloys, glass, and engineered plastics. Nestlé, for example, is experimenting with double-walled steel containers for their reusable, Häagen-Dazs ice cream packaging solution.


Adapting for a sustainable future

Improving the environmental footprint of your packaging is the first step for companies striving to keep up in a world where sustainability is a top priority. EPE USA works with industry leaders all over the world, redesigning their packaging solutions, replacing their unsustainable materials, creating closed-loop processes, and reducing their impact on the environment.

Our packaging designs emphasize the same core principles as Loop: reusability, recyclability, and responsibility. We replace polystyrene material with 100% recyclable materials, reducing the overall amount used in the process, to ensure our solutions achieve the lowest possible environmental impact. EPE designs packaging solutions that utilize durable, reusable materials, capable of recovery and reuse in a sustainable closed-loop ecosystem. We shoulder the responsibility of owning the entire lifespan of a package, with a full understanding of the impact that it can have on a brand.

The same idea of extended producer responsibility that helped grow Loop is integral to our vision for a sustainable future. That’s why our goal in redesigning packaging solutions for our customers is to also create a closed-loop packaging recovery ecosystem that accomplishes the same circular, sustainable success.

Talk to one of our packaging experts today about how EPE can replace your company’s packaging with sustainable, future-proof solutions.

EPE is a certified member of the Amazon Packaging Supplier and Support (APASS) network and we share the responsibility of sustainable e-commerce packaging and shipping practices.

Click here to learn more about how closed-loop systems work and how they can be applied to the packaging industry.