Climate Action

Tesco and TerraCycle launch ‘zero-waste’ refill service in the UK

Tesco teams up with Loop to unveil an online shopping service that delivers products only in reusable packaging.

  • 17 July 2020
  • Cordelia Van-Ristell

Tesco teams up with Loop to unveil an online shopping service that delivers products only in reusable packaging.

Zero-waste shopping service is launching in the UK allowing people to buy products in refillable packaging, offering a modernised version of the “milkman from yesteryear”.

The scheme, called Loop, is in partnership with Tesco, offering a wide range of everyday products that can then be returned and reused, which will encourage its online customers to cut down on their packaging wastage.

TerraCycle, Loop’s parent company, then receives the used packaging and thoroughly cleans it so that it can be safely reused by the manufacturer.

Customers online across Britain can now order 150 products including sauces, yoghurts, soaps, cereals, moisturisers, chocolate and washing detergents in durable and fully reusable packaging.

Also, brands including Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Coca-Cola, Danone, Persil, Jackpot Peanut Butter, Brewdog and Nivea are or soon will be available in fully reusable packaging which can be returned, cleaned and refilled through the scheme.

Each piece of packaging will be used many times so the service can help cut down on plastic and other single use materials and are delivered to customers in a branded tote bag.

After they have finished the products, customers can schedule a pick-up of their empty containers. There is a deposit charged on each piece of packaging, which is then fully refunded to customers on the return of the packaging.

“Our ground-breaking partnership with Loop has been designed to test a new way of helping customers use less plastic,” said David Lewis, Tesco chief executive.

“Through our closed loop strategy of remove, reduce, re-use and recycle, Tesco has a clear ambition to reduce packaging. We will learn what works at scale as we develop plans with Loop to introduce reusable packaging into our business.”

The plan is to eventually integrate Loop into Tesco's online delivery service.

Environmental campaign groups have welcomed the move. Greenpeace said that rising demand for home deliveries due to the coronavirus crisis "presents a real opportunity for innovation in reusable packaging".

"There needs to be a cultural shift, from a society that is reliant on disposable products and packaging, to one that embraces a circular model,” Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF said.

"At the heart of this is reusability, which is why Tesco's Loop trial is a welcome first step in understanding how initiatives like this could work at scale in the future."