Loop: Tesco launches returnable packaging system for select product ranges

Tesco has today (13 September) unveiled a new partnership with the Loop platform to enable teabags, beverages, cleaning products and other items to be purchased in reusable and returnable packaging.

Loop: Tesco launches returnable packaging system for select product ranges

The new reusable range of 88 products will include household brands such as Persil

Tesco has worked with Loop to introduce a reuse platform for packaging in ten stories across the east of England. Shoppers will be able to purchase items in packaging that can be returned to the store so it can be cleaned, refilled and reused.

The new reusable range of 88 products will include household brands such as Persil, Fever-Tree, Carex, Tetley Tea and BrewDog. Tesco has included 35 own brand essentials in the range, such as pasta, rice, oil and sugar, with even more products set to be added to the range throughout the year.

The prices for the items are comparable with versions in their original packaging, but a fully refundable deposit starting at 20p is paid for each reusable product at checkout that is refunded via an app when it is returned in-store. Ambassadors for the programme will be located at each store to explain the system to customers.

Tesco claims that if customers across the 10 stores were to switch to recyclable ketchup, cola and washing up liquid bottles to the reusable Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Coca Cola and Ecover alternatives, the packaging would be used and reused more than two and a half million times a year.

Tesco’s chief executive Ken Murphy said: “We are determined to tackle plastic waste and one of the ways we can help is by improving reuse options available to customers. Bringing Loop to our stores is a significant milestone in this journey. With 88 everyday products available, we’re giving customers a wide range of options and we’ll learn as much as we can from this to inform our future packaging plans.”

Tesco stores running the trials are located in Milton Keynes Kingston, Northampton South, Cambridge Newmarket Road, Wellingborough, Milton Keynes Wolverton, Evesham, Leicester Hamilton, Stratford Upon Avon, Ashby De La Zouch and Loughborough Rushes.

The Loop platform works by enabling consumers to order branded groceries, health and beauty and cleaning products in reusable packaging online, through a major retailer. Users pay a refundable deposit on the packaging, which is refunded to them once the containers are returned via courier. TerraCycle then cleans the packaging ready for refill, or recycles it at the end of its life.

Following successful launches in markets including the US and France, Loop launched in Tesco in the UK in July last year. It was due to launch in spring but lockdown restrictions caused delays. Brands signed on to Loop include Danone, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz.

In 2019, Tesco pledged to remove one billion pieces of plastic packaging from its UK business by the end of 2020. The company hit that milestone at the start of the year.

Tesco set the target as part of its broader plastics strategy, which centres around the ‘4 Rs’ – removal, reduction, reuse and recycling. The retailer is in the process of assessing all of its plastic packaging formats and changing them in line with this hierarchy.

Shortly after announcing the billion pieces of plastic goal, Tesco confirmed that it would remove plastic wrapping from its most popular tinned multipacks like chopped tomatoes and baked beans. It also worked with third-party brands including Heinz to remove the same packaging. In total, 67 million pieces of plastic wrapping have been removed through these initiatives.

Matt Mace

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