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Heard on Weekend Edition, CultureShift

This Company is Designing Reusable Packaging For Major Corporations

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Image credit: TerraCycle

One company is working with giants like Tide and Häagen-Dazs to re-fill, reuse and deliver household staples right to your door.

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Household products, toiletries, food, and more currently utilize single-use plastic containers and wrappers that end up in the trash. One company is changing that with reusable, refillable packaging.

Tom Szaky is the CEO and Founder of TerraCycle, based in New Jersey, and he says his mission is to make recycling a convenient and streamlined part of everyday life.


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For nearly 20 years, Szaky has been working with some of the biggest companies in the country to create recycling-friendly packaging for their products, and now, he has a new division called Loop, which “feels like disposability as much as absolutely possible,” explains Szaky. 

While the service, in some ways, is a mimicry of people’s existing bad habits, Szaky says that minimal effort on the part of consumers is key in making a big change. “The more we ask a consumer to do, the less likely they are going to take part,” he adds.

A few years ago we started thinking about, ‘how do we solve waste at the root cause?’” - Tom Szaky, TerraCycle

Loop will refill everything from your laundry detergent, to your favorite ice cream in reusable packages that are easy to ship out. As of now, they’ve partnered with Kroger and Walgreens, and the service will soon be coming to Detroit locations. 

A few years ago we started thinking about, ‘how do we solve waste at the root cause?’ and we believe the root cause of waste is using something once and throwing it out. From that question came a new division called Loop which is all about shifting packaging from single use and disposable to multi-use and reusable, without feeling like a reusable system,” says Szaky.

Click on the player to hear TerraCycle’s Tom Szaky talk about the challenges of single-use packaging.


UP NEXT

(c) ReGen Villages Holding
(c) ReGen Villages Holding

Reimagining an Urban Future With Self-Sustaining Eco Villages

If you could live in a self-reliant neighborhood where water, electricity and food all came from right outside your door, would you do it? James Ehrlich is the founder of a concept for self-sustaining communities called ReGen Villages. He’s also an entrepreneur in residence at Stanford University. He says that his concept — the first of which will likely be built near Amsterdam — has been years in the making. Read more


Anna Sysling, Reporter, Producer and WDET’s Weekend Edition Anchor

Lifelong resident of Metro Detroit and a huge public radio nerd. I work in Production and Programming at WDET.

annamarie.sysling@wdet.org Follow @asysling

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