top of page
  • Keziah Watson

Closing the Loop on Waste

Loop is a global company seeking to close the loop on waste and stop it from ending up in the bin.

If you look at the majority of the waste in your bin, a lot of it will be food packaging. Whether it’s empty tubs of ice cream, cleaning products, or the burger boxes from last night’s takeaway, the packaging is usually useless after the product is gone.

Shockingly, less than 10% of all single-use packaging is recycled, with the remaining 90% ending up in landfills, incinerated, or discarded and finding its way to our oceans. The answer to all this waste may lie with Loop.

Loop is a global reuse company which unites manufacturers, retailers, and consumers in the fight to eliminate waste. The company works with major brands like Coca-Cola, Gillette, Sprite, and Nivea to produce convenient yet durable and reusable packaging for their products.

These products are delivered to your home (if you live in America) or can be bought in stores. After use, the empty containers are collected and the whole process begins again.

This idea was launched in 2019 at the World Economic Forum in Davos. What began as an experiment in the United States and France is also being trialed in the United Kingdom and Canada. There are also plans to expand the service to Japan and Australia soon.

Loop is managed by TerraCycle, a social enterprise that operates across 22 countries to collect and recycle hard-to-recycle trash. This includes products that lie outside the range of what you might think is recyclable, like cigarette butts and dirty diapers.

You would be forgiven for believing that a service like this isn’t very popular yet, and is therefore pretty niche. However, you would be wrong. Major global grocery store retailer Tesco is leading the way, trialing a collaboration with Loop across 10 major stores in the UK.

A range of everyday products like pasta, peanuts, tea bags, and breakfast cereal can be bought in reusable jars and tins. The packaging can then be dropped back at a Loop Return Point, often within the stores themselves, to be cleaned, refilled, and put back on the shelves.

Products available through this scheme include some that can be difficult to get in recyclable packaging, including dishwasher tablets and flavoured noodles sachets.

But what about that greasy pizza box, takeaway coffee cup, or horrible polystyrene burger box? Not to fear, Loop has an answer for that too!

Tim Hortons in Toronto, Canada, McDonald’s around Northampton, United Kingdom, and Burger King’s in New York, Portland, Tokyo, Paris, and London will soon be offering reusable coffee cups and burger boxes.

It works in much the same way as it does in the supermarkets. You buy your product, enjoy it, and return the cup or box to a return point.

Food packaging, especially from takeaways, is rarely recyclable.

If you’re lucky enough to live in America, you can order items from the Loop website to your home. Sadly, I can’t test this out for you, but there is a review on the whole process from a shopper here.

Buying products in Loop packaging requires a small deposit to encourage you to return the tin, box, or cup when you’re done. The deposit might then entitle you to a small discount on your next purchase or be refunded just in time for your next shop.

A similar system of deposits is used across Europe for mugs and glasses at Christmas Markets or concert venues. Hopefully, this means consumers can adapt to this slightly different system.

Most people don’t like change and will settle for producing piles of packaging waste from the weekly shop simply because it is easier. Loop aims to make it as simple as possible for people to reduce their packaging waste

Partnering with big brands like Tesco, Burger King, and MacDonalds makes changing the way we shop as easy as possible. Since it’s so convenient, shoppers are more likely to start using it and keep on using it.

Unfortunately, many partnering brands only offer a small number of products through Loop, and the option to buy these minimal waste products is only available in a limited number of shops in certain parts of the country.

But the only way this will spread is if more people use it and create the demand. Loop, or other similar services, will most

a part of how we shop in the future.

Their rapid spread shows that manufacturers, retailers, and consumers want to find a better way forward. So, keep a lookout for Loop, it may be coming to a shop near you sometime soon!

By Keziah Watson ©

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page