( Tom Karst )

PISMO BEACH, Calif. — Loop, a division of New Jersey recycling company TerraCycle, seeks to reduce waste by marketing big-brand durable and reusable consumer packaging.

While reusable retail produce packages are not yet a part of what Loop provides, they could be offered eventually, said Anthony Rossi, vice president of global business development at Loop.

Rossi spoke May 21 at the Cal Poly FreshPACKmoves seminar.

“If you go to a brand and ask them to create durable packaging, they will say “My costs are going to go through the roof,’” he said. “So in our platform, all of the packaging is always owned by the brand and is (secured) by a deposit from the consumer,” he said. “That transition of ownership allows (brands) to invest in materials that can go through the platform and survive 100 times.”

For example, a cookie company invested in a stainless steel jar instead flow-wrap plastic packaging. Rossi said Loop is “agnostic” about what material to use for packaging, as long as it is durable and meets brand approval.

Loop creates durable/reusable packaging for nearly 70 brands, including a metal ice cream container for Häagen-Dazs, a glass jar for Nature’s Path granola and hundreds of more consumer packages created with metal, glass or durable plastic. Rossi said Loop also offers private label products.

The company sells products to consumers who shop on its website, with consumers receiving full containers in a tote and returning the empty containers in the same tote via a delivery service like the United Parcel Service. Loop cleans and sanitizes the packages and ships them in bulk to brand manufacturers to refill.

“Our core competency it is really cleaning and sanitizing,” Rossi said, noting that brands will communicate the food safety and acceptable microbial specifications for Loop to meet.

The company also announced May 21 that Kroger and Walgreens have a project that gives shoppers the opportunity to buy products in reusable Loop packaging at stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington.


Window for fresh

While Loop has focused on shelf-stable products, Rossi said he believes the company will develop durable packages for fresh produce through relationships with retailers like Kroger.

“Kroger knows how to sell fresh produce, they know their consumer, they know the supply chain, so we can help provide the packaging for them.”