Loop startup uses milkman-like service to promote recycling, sustainability


A reusable packaging company is trying to bring milkmen back all in the name of sustainability.

New Jersey-based recycling business TerraCycle launched its “circular shopping system,” Loop, in 2019 to “save the world from single-use plastics.” And since then, environmentally conscious consumers have been able to shop for groceries and household products that come in refillable containers.

Couriers who work with Loop pick up the containers for free at a scheduled time, so the packaging can be cleaned and reused – much like the service milkmen provided American families in the 1950s and 1960s.

Milkmen collected used bottles and delivered fresh milk to families back when dairy products weren’t as easily accessible in grocery stores. The business model is being used by a zero-waste startup. (iStock)

However, unlike its milkman predecessor, Loop’s replenishable delivery service goes beyond milk and offers name-brand products like Haagen-Dazs and Tropicana. A name-brand milk does not appear to be partnered with the company yet, however, according to its brand partners webpage. Over 30 popular brands were listed as Loop partners as of Friday.

Representatives at Loop and TerraCycle did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.

Since its start, Loop has been partnered with Kroger and Walgreens to help each retailer kickstart “zero-waste” initiatives.

“Loop was designed from the ground-up to reinvent the way we consume by leveraging the sustainable, circular milkman model of yesterday with the convenience of e-commerce,” said Loop and TerraCycle’s Founder and CEO Tom Szaky, in a press release at the time.

The company’s services are also available in France and the U.K. More recently, Loop has launched in Canada with a focus in Ontario.

Sustainable buying has been a growing movement around the world in recent years as a response to climate change and environmental damage caused by non-biodegradable single-use products.

A retail survey released by CGS over the summer stated 56% of Americans say sustainability is important. More than one-fifth of the men (21%) and one-quarter of the women (26%) surveyed said they would be willing to pay up to 25% more for products they know are sustainable.

Similarly, 47% of American survey respondents said they attention to whether a retailer uses eco-conscious packaging.

“The research confirms that the shift in retail we were already beginning to see before the COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating,” said CGS President of Business Applications Paul Magel, in the survey’s findings.

“As more consumers opt for eCommerce, retailers have transformed at record rates during the height of the crisis and consumers will continue to expect the same level of service and experience going forward,” he added. “Retailers and brands will need to make sure sustainability efforts don’t get left behind during the shift. Consumers will continue to prioritize this, especially as they shop online more frequently.”