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Foodservice packaging accounts for only a small portion of the trash that ends up in landfills. In fact, paper and plastic waste from foodservice packaging makes up just 1.6% by weight of total municipal solid waste, according to EPA data. In an effort to reduce packaging waste from consumer packaged goods, New Jersey-based TerraCycle developed a product delivery service based around reusable packaging. TerraCycle will introduce the service, called Loop, later this month in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. It plans to follow with a September roll-out in London before launching in Canada, Japan, Germany and more US regions in 2020, CBS News reported. The service, which the company’s website describes as “ the milkman reimagined,” delivers food and household products to consumers in a reusable tote, which is then used to collect empty containers. When the tote is full, users can schedule a pick-up so the packaging can be returned and reused. Several large companies have partnered with Loop to create durable versions of their product packaging. Procter & Gamble will start with brands including Tide and Pantene, and Unilever’s initial participating brands include Dove, Hellmann’s and the personal care brand Love Beauty and Planet. The model depends on repeated use, so Loop is banking on the idea that offering familiar brands in premium packaging will drive consumers to stick with the service. “It takes five Loop cycles of fill and reuse to be better from an environmental standpoint,” Procter & Gamble Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Virginie Helias told Greebiz. “We hope [it] can go way beyond that but that’s exactly why we are testing in market. It’s to validate that assumption.” Consumers take reusable packaging into their own hands.

Convenience is a driving factor behind the proliferation of disposable packaging. Getting consumers to carry their own containers to the grocery store, coffee shop or their go-to take-out spot will require a major shift. But for some eco-conscious shoppers, new habits are starting to take hold. Stores like Packaga Free Shop and Precycle in New York City cater to shoppers looking to go waste-free with items sold in bulk or in reusable, non-plastic packaging. Website Literless lists grocery stores in every state that sell bulk dry goods and other food items that shoppers can carry home in their own containers. Carrying containers to the grocery store isn’t a common practice for most shoppers, but reusable grocery bags have become more prevalent, thanks to taxes and bans on plastic bags. Inspired by the bag bans, Berkeley, Calif., announced in January that it will require coffee shops to charge an extra 25-cents for orders in a disposable cup.

A survey of Berkeley residents before the tax was imposed found that 70% said the extra charge would convince them to bring their own cups, Bloomberg reported. Long before Berkeley introduced the idea of a tax on disposable cups, coffee shops all over the country have offered customers a discount for bringing their own cup. Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee and many other chains give a 10-cent discount for orders in reusable cups. To help consumers weigh the sustainability of restaurants, and find locations that offer reusable cup discounts, restaurant review site Yelp recently announced that it will start tracking which eateries offer the discount. The site will also ask reviewers to note which restaurants are free of plastic utensils or plastic bags,S kift Table reported. Most consumers who bring reusable cups to coffee shops are probably driven by concern for the environment, rather than the 10-cent savings. Reusable cups, bottles and straws have become something of a status symbol, giving consumers a way to not only be environmentally friendly, but to exhibit their values in a stylish way. There is a wide range of reusable drinking vessels to choose from, and their popularity is rising. Sales of KeepCup, which offers attractive cups designed in barista-standard sizes, are up 20% year over year, the company’s Jamila Williams told Eater. Whether consumers bring their reusable containers from home, rent them from a cafe or get them delivered by a grocery service, one thing is certain: Stemming the tide of packaging waste will take a joint effort between companies and consumers. – Source: GMA SmartBrief.

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