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Woolworths to start reusable container scheme to reduce shopping waste

Lachlan Roberts 1 November 2019 83

Woolworths Belconnen

A Woolworths spokesperson said it was too early to say which supermarkets will take part in the trial. Photo: Westfield Belconnen.


Woolworths supermarkets in Canberra are set to join a national trial that will allow their customers to purchase their favourite products in reusable containers, rather than single-use plastic packaging.

Customers will be able to receive products in reusable containers, delivered right to their doors. Commonly used products such as washing detergent, shampoo, juice or ice cream will be sold in customised, brand-specific, durable packaging that is delivered in a reusable shipping tote.

When finished, the empty containers are picked up from home or can be dropped back at a nearby Woolworths store before being cleaned, refilled and reused – creating a circular shopping system.

The scheme, called Loop, will be trialled in supermarkets before a full launch in 2021.

A Woolworths spokesperson said it was too early to say which Canberra Woolworths supermarkets may take part in the trial or the full launch.

An initiative from TerraCycle, Loop partners with brands and retailers to shift from a disposable to durable supply chain, and enable consumers to shop for a wide range of everyday products from trusted brands in durable and reusable packaging.

Woolworths will become the first Australian retailer to use Loop, which has already inked deals with companies like PepsiCo and Nestle.

Woolworths general manager of sustainability Alex Holt said Loop aims to tackle plastic waste in Australia by finding solutions for ‘difficult to recycle’ packaging and products.

“Our customers are increasingly telling us they want products that are good for them, and good for the planet,” Mr Holt said. “We are pleased to be working with innovative partners to lead the way in offering new and cutting-edge solutions to cut down on plastic waste.

“Helping bring Loop to Australia is a further step in our long-term ambition to reduce our impact on the environment and support a circular economy.”

Having already launched in New York and Paris in May, Loop is currently expanding to markets in the UK, Canada, Germany, Japan and now Australia to become a global movement.

Launching the Loop partnership in Sydney, Federal Minister for Industry Karen Andrews praised Woolworths for showing the initiative to embrace a recycling solution that will significantly reduce its waste packaging.

“It is vitally important that both governments and the private sector play their part in reducing waste and embracing recycling solutions,” Ms Andrews said. “I look forward to other businesses adopting similar initiatives.”

Customers can register their interest to be involved in the initial Loop trial by clicking here. Supplier partners looking to participate should also get in touch with their relevant business partner within Woolworths.

The Loop process

How the Loop lifecycle works. Image: Loop website.


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83 Responses to Woolworths to start reusable container scheme to reduce shopping waste
Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 1:07 am 09 Nov 19

I watched the video again. They are supposedly going to do this to reduce waste, but what was shown here...one of them pulling out disposable wipes from a container; (the wipes) which will then go into the waste stream. Sort of defeats the purpose to reduce waste, especially when a recycled rag would work. Also I wonder (but doubt) they will have bigger containers with bulk products, which is often the cheapest way to buy a product.

Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 12:00 am 09 Nov 19

Only some brands

Emma Sugden Emma Sugden 2:14 am 07 Nov 19

Terry Cook Linda Hughes heck yeah

canberrascout canberrascout 2:32 pm 06 Nov 19

How a bout the govt allow Woolworths in inner Canberra Kingston area. Coles has a monopoly in Manuka so I don’t see them changing their ways to catch up.

India Ross India Ross 1:22 pm 06 Nov 19

Tonya Rowlieski -- I don't know what's happening but I'm getting recommendations about Canberra now

    Tonya Rowlieski Tonya Rowlieski 4:10 pm 06 Nov 19

    maybe it's a sign you should come visit

    India Ross India Ross 4:21 pm 06 Nov 19

    Tonya Rowlieski I can't drive for another 5 weeks but after that I'll come up one weekend

Alysia Robertson Alysia Robertson 12:32 pm 06 Nov 19

Jack Mahon yay for Canberra

Jenny Bolin Jenny Bolin 5:10 pm 05 Nov 19

When people initially started using reusable coffee mugs stores were resistant because they didn’t want to be responsible for the cups not being cleaned properly! Now many coffee shops sell the cups and welcome them back! Hopefully the same will happen with supermarkets,

Vicki Smith Vicki Smith 4:05 pm 05 Nov 19

Everything old, is new again

Janny Tee Janny Tee 6:24 pm 04 Nov 19

More things to forget. Nah.

Acton Acton 4:54 pm 04 Nov 19

A ridiculous idea that is totally unsustainable because it is economically unviable. You will be paying a cost for the tote bag and you will have limited choice of only those products that are delivered by the Loop organisation. These products are selected by Loop so each product will be higher priced than if you were to source them yourselves. Product choices will be reduced and consumers will resist having their homes filled with Loop approved and shaped products sourced from Loop selected companies. In addition to the regular cost of the item, customers must put down a fully refundable deposit for each package. There are costs (fuel/transport/wages) of collecting the empty products and Loop bags from houses all over the city and then cleaning and refilling them. You will pay for this collection service by way of higher priced products. Woolworths wins by a license fee with Loop, Loop wins by charging its partner companies. Consumers lose from high priced products. The environment loses because of additional resources consumed in the production and delivery process of this whole silly idea. Is Loop some sort of feel-good non-profit Greenie concept? No it is a business idea from Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Danone, Mars Petcare, Mondel?z International and others. Why is it that people are so naive and gullible? Product packaging can and should be reduced, but not this way.

Myfanwy Dibben Myfanwy Dibben 8:25 am 04 Nov 19

If you watch their promo video, on the zipper closure of the Loop box for deliveries, there is a plastic tie that is cut and tossed. Does that defeat the whole plastic thing?

Renea Hazel Renea Hazel 9:08 pm 03 Nov 19

What products? If it's fresh produce then just leave the packaging off altogether!

Cindy Garnett Cindy Garnett 7:23 pm 03 Nov 19

Good idea like it!

Rowan Cairns Rowan Cairns 5:56 pm 03 Nov 19

I would be interested in seeing their sales of “reusable plastics bags” since it was forced upon us. I dare say more are being sold each year which is just lining their pockets and doing more harm to the environment than the original single use bags

Stephanie Nott Stephanie Nott 4:18 pm 03 Nov 19

This is fantastic news!!!

Beth Mansfield Beth Mansfield 3:30 pm 03 Nov 19

Awesome. Has anyone made a checklist of containers to gather together?

Karen Williams Karen Williams 2:45 pm 03 Nov 19

About time!

Josie Ashley Josie Ashley 2:08 pm 03 Nov 19

Kelly Irvine pretty cool

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:27 pm 03 Nov 19

I like the idea of returnable containers that can be refilled. However, thinking more about this I suspect the main reason that Woolworths is doing this is to direct business their way, more than for environmental reasons. Once a consumer has a set of these refillable containers and wants to use these containers, they will go back to Woolworths so these containers can be reused, rather than shop at a competitor. Thinking cynically, I suspect any container but Woolworths' own will be refused by Woolworths and the consumer will be told they can't accept them because it's an OH&S rule, which is untrue as there is no such rule, but most consumers will believe this untruth. It makes business sense for Woolworths to lock in these customers, by making them dependant on their containers, if the customer wants to do the right thing and avoid waste. If Woolworths wants to prove it's not just a business move to tie in customers, they will announce that as well as being able to utilise their containers, customers are free to bring their own clean containers too. Cynical me says I bet they won't allow customers their own containers, because that would give customers the freedom to shop elsewhere.

    Jane Kim Jane Kim 1:30 pm 03 Nov 19

    Totally agree Julie!

    Scott Turner Scott Turner 8:07 pm 03 Nov 19

    The article does mention "a wide range of everyday products from trusted brands in durable and reusable packaging." If other stores partner with Loop to introduce this system they should have the same containers because the brands won't want to use 2 or more containers at their factory for the same product.

Lisa Pilley Lisa Pilley 11:49 am 03 Nov 19

Why cant the deli wrap up in paper!!

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:10 pm 03 Nov 19

    They can and many, and likely most places will. However, at my last visit to a Woolworths in Canberra they refused to do this for me. They wouldn't use only the wrapping paper which they wrap things in without a plastic bag. They insisted a plastic bag was compulsory. I wasn't taking that rubbish and walked out. I went to another business that was more agreeable.

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