Week of August 25, 2019

We know that plastic is everywhere and it everything. It is in the air, soil, and the oceans, in the bodies of fish, birds and other marine wildlife and in us. We know the problem it is causing the environment and are now studying what it is doing to human health over time. Yet, plastic production (it is convenient and cheap) continues to grow. If that were not enough, recycling companies are struggling to keep afloat since China and other countries have begun refusing our recycling materials. Here is where the idea of the circular economy comes in (for those interested in the theory of this business model, please go to https://www.weforum.org/reports toward-the-circular-economy). Essentially it is an economic model that transforms the “throw-away-when-it is not working model” into a model that lengthens the life of a product through multiple use cycles before it is eventually recycled. Putting this concept to work (after several iterations) Terra-Cycle CEO, Tom Szaky is working with several companies to offer about 300 products that are ordered on line & come in sturdy packaging that is sent to customers in a large zippered box (by UPS in US). Folks use the products, place the empties back in the Zippered box and send it back to Loop. The empty product containers are cleaned, refilled and (if wanted) sent back to the customer. So far, the pilot project charges a deposit per product that is refundable and delivery (after so many orders) is free. Products are anything from ice cream, which comes in a metal container, to shampoo in a hardened plastic bottle. The system has potential (someday) to be integrated with the new “order online, and pick-up local grocery store plans. Could the same concept be used in grocery bulk bins sales that would do away with the tiny plastic baggie? Loop has been compared with the old time “milk man”. Sometimes looking back can be forward thinking! Of course Loop, is not the only entity working on the circular economy, there are lots of clothing brands that offer a change of wardrobe by encouraging others to buy your “like new” outfits. Others are joining in this model every day. However, this Loop model is one that just might cut into the ever-increasing production of one-time-use plastics. Keep in mind that Reducing is still first on the list of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
EARTH STEWARD ACTION: Take a looks at the websites bellow and, think about ordering through Loop. Tell a TEST member all about the experience.