On circularity, beauty and solving the cost of convenience

Axe deodorant is part of the new Loop circularity platform
I think about the cost of convenience a lot. We’re so hung up on things being quick, accessible and easy that we forget that there’s a cost associated with it. For example, two of my bugbears – getting hooked on free media consumption means we’re now slaves to Mark Zuckerberg and his ilk, and the obsession with a cashless society is a burden for older people who can’t keep up with technology and miss the human interaction of bank counters and supermarket checkouts. (Not to mention the simple fact that cashless culture means you spend more.) And then there’s a third – the environmental cost of our disposable culture.

The good news is there’s finally some progress being made in the field of packaging. We still want the convenience that comes with disposable goods but we’re not changing our behaviour fast enough for recycling to make a significant difference. So TerraCycle, with support from the big guns in fast moving consumer goods (including Unilever and Procter & Gamble) has come up with Loop, a circularity concept that hopes to make a big difference.

The premise is that brands create durable refillable packaging, so that after the initial outlay, you only pay for the contents. It lends itself to everything from food to beauty products, including shower gel, deodorant (top) and toothpaste. REN (owned by Unilever) is one of the first beauty brands to jump on board, offering its Moroccan Rose Otto and Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium body washes and lotions in returnable, reusable packaging on the Loop platform.

This diagram explains the process…

Loop circularity platform infographic

When is this all coming? Soon! In France, Carrefour grocery stores have partnered with Loop, while in London, Tesco is piloting the scheme for later in the year. In March, the U.S will roll out around 125 products to consumers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. And REN’s initiative will launch in Paris and New York this spring, and London this autumn. Some consider this a positive step forward while others see it as ‘greenwashing’ and bypassing the root problem of consumerism (i.e. relentless acquisition).

Me? I think it’s a good start. What say you?

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Axe, Loop
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