Circular E-Com: Reusable Packaging Startup Loop Partners With Tesco In UK For Online Orders

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Loop, the reusable packaging e-commerce platform, has partnered with supermarket giant Tesco to launch its circular delivery service in the United Kingdom. It marks the first time groceries will be available in reusable containers in the country, reigniting hopes that the anti-plastic movement will regain momentum after months of stagnancy during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Founded in May 2019 by the Franco-U.S. waste management company Terracycle, circular delivery startup Loop has now officially launched its service in the U.K. in partnership with Tesco. Since Wednesday (July 15), customers in the country can now choose from 150 products in refillable containers via a new dedicated website

Once orders are placed, they will be delivered to customers’ doors in a reusable tote, and products will come in durable containers that can be collected, cleaned and reused for at least 100 times. Currently, Loop remains exclusively online in the U.K. and will be delivered by the parcel service provider DPD, who are currently 100% carbon-neutral after offsetting all their emissions. 

Among the 35 major brands participating in the program are Coca-Cola, Heinz, laundry detergent Persil and personal care labels Nivea, Bulldog and Molton Brown. After the initial trial launch, there will be more brands and products added to the website. 

“This pilot partnership is key to finding a scalable reusable packaging solution for our customers,” said a Tesco spokesperson in a statement. “The range will increase over time and next year we will introduce some of the products in reusable packaging into our own stores.”

Prices for items will be similar to the conventional product packaged in single-use containers, but customers will need to place a deposit for the returnable packaging. The launch in the U.K. marks the third market that Loop’s services are available in, after the United States and France.

Announcing the news, Marc Violo, the head of marketing at Loop said in a post: “We’re teaming up with major brands and retailers to bring Loop to new regions around the world,” adding that the company has plans to continue expanding internationally with upcoming launches in Canada, Japan, Australia and Germany. 

The upcoming launch appears to be in Australia, where Loop is expected to partner with supermarket chain Woolworths to allow customers to refill selected products from a diverse range of categories, from beverages to personal care. Loop’s service is slated to begin in the country in June 2021.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, efforts to reduce single-use plastics across the world have been stalled. While in the spike in the use of face masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) is unavoidable, the consumption of other non-essential disposable items have dramatically increased due to unfounded claims over coronavirus contamination, many of which have been promoted by right-wing think tanks and lobbying groups who have exploited the crisis to push against bans on single-use plastics.

However, recent evidence from the world’s leading experts and scientists have shown that reusables are perfectly safe for use over the course of the pandemic and does not raise the risk of coronavirus transmission as long as basic hygiene is employed. The expansion of circular delivery models such as Loop’s represents hope that progress in the battle against plastic waste can be restarted. 

Research further shows that circular packaging solutions can in fact aid in the economic recovery process, as it presents an enormous business opportunity for companies. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, converting just 20% of existing plastic packaging to reusable models is worth an estimated US$10 billion

All images courtesy of Loop / Tesco.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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