Loop Brings Zero Waste Shopping to Japan

Loop Brings Zero Waste Shopping to Japan

With the climate crisis intensifying, businesses are taking steps to reduce the waste they generate.

Of the 1.8 billion tons of domestic waste disposed of worldwide in 2018, one-third came from packaging. More than 380 million tons of plastics are produced every year, and they account for 40% of the world’s packaging waste. 

Japan produces 9.15 million tons of plastic waste every year. Reports from 2018 suggest that Japan recycles 84% of its plastic waste. Despite having a recycling infrastructure, very little plastic actually gets recycled and the process used for recycling is incineration. Around 67% of Japan’s plastic waste is incinerated (which releases harmful toxins in the process) and 8% ends up in landfills. 

The recyclable and reusable packaging subsidiary of TerraCycle, Loop, has emerged as a solution to the growing problem of food packaging waste. Loop has recently partnered with the Japanese supermarket chain Aeon to bring down the country’s share of plastic waste. 

Let’s take a look at what Loop is, how it works and why this collaboration is important for reducing plastic waste in Japan.

What is Loop?

Loop is a company dedicated to reducing the waste generated by the packaging industry. It seeks to provide zero waste versions of everyday essentials. Supermarkets that partner with Loop allow consumers to “borrow” packaging for a 100% refundable deposit. Loop’s packaging is made of steel and glass, making it not just durable but also fit for repeated use. 

Upon using a product, consumers can have the sustainable packaging either replenished or returned for a full refund of their deposit. Customers can return the containers by scheduling a free pickup or, in some cases, by returning it to physical locations, such as UPS offices or Loop’s retail partners. The company also offers delivery services, wherein it replaces traditional cardboard delivery packaging with Loop totes (bags in which customers receive their delivered products and can put their empty containers into).

Why the supermarket chain Aeon is the right partner for Loop’s mission

Loops partner Aeon has been actively involved in environmental activism outside Japan as well. In Hong Kong, Aeon gives coupons and discounts to customers to encourage them to use their own reusable packaging instead of single-use plastics when they order from Aeon’s in-store food outlets. 

Aeon has also been actively involved in other environmental initiatives, such as the “Bringing Shopping Bags Campaign” and the collection of food trays and PET bottles. Aeon and Loops partnership has received the support of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as well. 

Challenges to the adoption of reusable packaging

Businesses and consumers are in the habit of using plastics. Plastic packages are cheaper and can keep food fresh. Thus, when trying to make customers adopt sustainable purchasing practices, it is important to make the process as simple as possible.

 On using Loop tote to collect the used containers, Loop’s founder and CEO Tom Szaky says, “We’re trying to emulate the way you do your recycling at home.” Besides ingrained habits, another challenge that faces a company like Loop is the need for collaboration with many different partners. The producers of the products, the stores where these products are sold and the consumers all need to work together to make Loop work in the desired way. 

However, in spite of these challenges, Loop has been growing. Launched in 2019 in the U.S. and France, the company has since then expanded to other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan, and provides its services online, in-store and in restaurants. 

Header image courtesy of Loop’s Facebook page

SHARE THIS STORY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Kamya Pandey
Kamya is a writer at Jumpstart. She is obsessed with podcasts, films, everything horror-related, and art.

RELATED POSTS

Companies that Might Accept Crypto Payments in 2022

Companies that Might Accept Crypto Payments in 2022

The cryptocurrency industry is growing rapidly, and with that growth comes increased interest from companies looking to accept crypto payments. While there are already a few major companies that accept cryptocurrency payments, like Microsoft and PayPal, many more are considering following suit.

Top 5 Personal Finance Books That You Need to Read

Top 5 Personal Finance Books That You Need to Read

When it comes to financing and budgeting, most of us have to learn everything all by ourselves. From figuring out the right kind of investments to learning how to manage your spending habits, we all need to know more about handling our personal finances.

These Startups Are Reducing the Digital Divide

These Startups Are Reducing the Digital Divide

It is hard to imagine doing anything without the internet today, especially since the world was hit by a pandemic. However, in a world where 37% of the global population has never had access to the internet, the reality of who gets to make the most of the internet is heavily skewed in the favor of the developed world.

Top 3 Most Anticipated VR Headsets of 2022

Top 3 Most Anticipated VR Headsets of 2022

There’s no doubt that virtual reality (VR) is here to stay. In recent years, VR technology has come a long way and shows no signs of slowing down. According to the 2021 report by Grand View Research, the global VR market is anticipated to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.0 percent from 2022 to 2030.

Should I Quit My High-Paying Job to Start a Business I Love

Should I Quit My High-Paying Job to Start a Business I Love?

So you’re stuck in a job you hate. It’s dragging you down, making you feel miserable every day. You’ve tried to quit, but it’s not that easy. You need the money, and those golden handcuffs are keeping you tied to your boss. Don’t worry, you’re not alone—many people find themselves in the same situation.

When Love Meets Tech - a Deep-Dive into the Matchmaking Industry

When Love Meets Tech – a Deep-Dive into the Matchmaking Industry

In the digital era, the internet has become a popular spot where people have resorted to finding love. By 2024, it is expected that global online dating services will have 276.9 million users. Whether it’s looking for love, a date or someone to hang out with or talk to, it’s obvious that people are actively seeking connections with other beings.