Sky backs TerraCycle's 'zero-waste' refill platform with £1.5m investment

Media giant Sky's Ocean Ventures investment arm has committed $2m (£1.56m) to TerraCycle's Loop platform - an offering whereby businesses provide product refills to consumers while retaining ownership of their reusable packaging.

Loop will enable UK customers to buy refillable products online and have them delivered in reusable containers. Image: TerraCycle

Loop will enable UK customers to buy refillable products online and have them delivered in reusable containers. Image: TerraCycle

The funding pot, which is Sky Ocean Ventures’ largest single investment to date, will be used to support the UK launch of Loop, slated for February 2020.

Loop first launched in Paris on 14 May, with food and drink, health and beauty and cleaning products, as well as office supplies, sold through Carrefour. Loop has since gone live in the US through partnerships with Walgreens and Kroger, with the UK platform set to run through Tesco.

Brands which have confirmed they will offer refillable products to UK customers through Loop include the likes of The Body Shop, Unilever, Nestle, Colgate Palmolive and Procter & Gamble (P&G). Offerings range from ice cream in steel containers, to stainless steel toothbrushes with detachable, recyclable heads.

“When we set out to raise investment capital for Loop, we had no expectation of finding a fund associated with a major media company that shares our dedication to eliminating plastic waste,” TerraCycle’s chief executive officer Tom Szaky said.

“Sky’s industry knowledge and daily access to a vast customer network will help bring attention to Loop and the opportunities to shift to durable products and packaging.”

Speaking exclusively to edie this month, Szaky revealed that an average of one brand a day had joined Loop since it was first unveiled in January. He argued that the attention given to Loop and other refill offerings this year – by investors, brands and consumer alike - has been “continuing and growing” and could never be described as “just a blip”.

As for Sky, the move comes as the firm is striving to eliminate all single-use plastics from its business, products and operations by the end of 2020.

Its Ocean Ventures arm has been in operation since 2018; it began with a £25m “anchor commitment” and this year announced a further £6m pot, jointly contributed to by Sky and Innovate UK, Both of these funding streams are used to back entrepreneurs and start-ups that showcase scalable solutions to the 80-120 million tonnes of plastics believed to be seeping into oceans annually.


TerraCycle at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum 2020

TerraCycle's chief executive Tom Szaky will be appearing at day two of edie's Sustainability Leaders Forum 2020, to deliver a keynote speech on resource efficiency. 

During the two-day event at London's Business Design Centre on 4 & 5 February, some of the biggest companies, individuals and organisations championing sustainability will gather to discuss the emergency response in transitioning to a net-zero economy.

The flagship, multi-award-winning event features keynotes speakers including former President of Ireland Mary Robinson; Rebecca Marmot, Unilever CSO; Gilbert Ghostine, Firmenich CEO, plus directors and senior managers from Pret-A-Manger, Interface, Vattenfall, John Lewis, Taylor Wimpey, Aviva, Pernod Ricard, LEGO Group, M&S, Diageo, Tesco, WSP, BASF, Mondelēz and more. For details and to register, visit: https://event.edie.net/forum/


Sarah George



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