Kroger and Loop Test Reusable Packaging Model in Portland Stores
Shoppers in Portland, Oregon will have a chance to trial an innovative solution to the problem of single-use plastic packaging.
Kroger is partnering with TerraCycle’s circular reuse program Loop to test a reusable packaging strategy in 25 Kroger-owned Fred Meyer stores in the Portland metro area. Customers will be able to purchase more than 20 products in special reusable containers that they can then return to be used again.
“With the world’s largest retailers bringing Loop to physical brick and mortar locations, we are giving consumers what they’ve been asking for since Loop was introduced in 2019 – the ability to purchase the products they use every day in durable, reusable containers, with the convenience of shopping at their local market,” TerraCycle and Loop founder and CEO Tom Szaky said in a press release.
For shoppers, the process will work like this:
- The packaged items will be located in branded displays at participating stores.
- Customers can purchase their preferred items, paying a deposit fee for the container.
- Once customers use the products, they can return the container to a drop-box at a participating store and redeem the deposit fee.
- The container will then be collected, cleaned and reused.
Participating brands include Arbor Teas, Cascade, Clorox, Gerber, Nature’s Heart, Nature’s Path, Pantene, Seventh Generation, Stubb’s and Kroger’s Simple Truth brand. Customers will be able to purchase items like barbecue sauce, wet wipes, granola and shampoo and conditioner, according to GreenBiz. Deposit fees could cost as much as around $10 depending on the product, CNN reported.
Loop launched in 2019 with an online store that allowed shoppers to purchase items in reusable containers and then send them back. However, the goal was always to move into brick-and-mortar retailers in order to make its reusable packaging model as widespread as possible. As this goal begins to be achieved, the online store has shuttered.
The pivot to real space began internationally, as Loop partnered with Carrefour in Paris in December 2020, according to the press release. It launched similar partnerships with AEON in Japan and Tesco in the UK the next year. It has also entered packaging partnerships with McDonald’s in the UK and select Burger Kings and Tim Hortons in the U.S. and Canada. However, Kroger is its first U.S. retail partner.
“Customers are increasingly seeking out sustainable products and services that fit their lifestyle, and this collection makes it convenient. As the first grocer in America to offer these products, Kroger is pleased to take another meaningful step toward a world with zero waste,” Kroger head of sustainability Lisa Zwack said in the press release.
The current trial, which launches today, is expected to last six months, according to GreenBiz. For Kroger, the partnership fits into its goal of creating waste- and hunger-free communities by 2025.
“We’re really eager to learn from the pilots, and then figure out what potential next steps could look like,” Zwack told GreenBiz.
Loop, meanwhile, says retailers including Walgreens plan to start selling their products this year, CNN reported.