Tren­ton’s own Ter­ra­cy­cle push­ing to make re­us­able con­tain­ers the next big thing in en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism >>

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - FRONT PAGE - Jeff Edel­stein Jeff Edel­stein is a colum­nist for The Tren­to­nian. He can be reached at jedel­[email protected]­to­, face­­freyedel­stein and @ jeffedel­stein on Twitter.

It’s been a long time since the “Tren­ton Makes, the World Takes” motto has meant much around these parts.

But if the folks at Loop pull off what they’re at­tempt­ing, then it’s fair to say the motto will mean more than ever. In fact, it would be ripe for an up­date, some­thing along the lines of “Tren­ton Makes, the World Takes and Takes and Takes Again, in Fact They’ll Keep Tak­ing Be­cause That’s How We Buy Stuff Nowa­days and Wow Can You Be­lieve a Tren­ton Com­pany is Re­spon­si­ble for Waste Free Pack­ag­ing and More or Less Sav­ing the Planet?”

OK, fine, that’s a mouth­ful and prob­a­bly needs some light ed­its, but the fact re­mains: Loop, which is owned by Ter­ra­cy­cle and housed in the Ter­ra­cy­cle of­fices in Tren­ton, has gone back in time to cre­ate waste free pack­ag­ing.

Think back to the old days, when the milk­man dropped off your moo juice. This was be­fore my time, but I get the idea: He’d drop off the bottles, you’d drink the milk, he’d pick up the bottles and give you more milk.

Well, Loop is propos­ing to the same thing. For milk, sure. And ice cream. And tooth­paste. And peanut but­ter. And garbage bags. And tin foil. And vir­tu­ally ev­ery last kitchen, bath, and house­hold item you can think of.

And this isn’t some back-of-the-en­ve­lope scheme; al­ready, Loop has signed up Nes­tle, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Proc­ter & Gam­ble, and dozens more com­pa­nies, large and small, to get this party started. In the com­ing months, even more com­pa­nies will an­nounce plans to part­ner with Loop. You’ll be able to or­der di­rect from LoopS­, UPS will serve as the “milk­man,” and within a few years, you’ll also be able to buy the prod­ucts in stores.

The phrase “game changer” gets tossed about a lot, but this one feels aw­fully game-changey.

“We’re stop­ping and think­ing and say­ing that even if 100 per­cent of prod­ucts and pack­ag­ing were re­cy­clable, and even if 100 per­cent of prod­ucts are made from re­cy­cled con­tent, is that still the best?” said An­thony Rossi, the vice-pres­i­dent of Global Busi­ness Devel­op­ment at Loop. “Two years ago Tom (Szaky, Ter­ra­cy­cle founder and CEO) got to think­ing and said ‘no, we can’t stop there.’ One, it’s utopian. I don’t think we’ll ever get close to that num­ber, but two the real prob­lem here is dis­pos­abil­ity. And so we’re at­tack­ing dis­pos­abil­ity by work­ing with part­ners to reengi­neer their pack­ag­ing to be durable and re­us­able while pro­vid­ing in­fra­struc­ture to get prod­ucts to con­sumers and back.”

The plan is pretty dang sim­ple. You or­der you prod­ucts, from Axe de­odor­ant to Haa­gen-Dazs ice cream. It’s de­liv­ered, via UPS, in a Loop tote. When you’re done with your pack­age, you put it back in the tote and leave on your doorstep. And that’s pretty much that. In­stead of throw­ing away the pack­ag­ing, you sim­ply toss it in the tote. Couldn’t be eas­ier.

“Peo­ple try their best when they can, but when it’s con­ve­nience vs. sus­tain­ably, con­ve­nience wins,” Rossi noted.

He’s right. I mean, I want to re­cy­cle, but … well, I don’t feel like go­ing out­side to toss the stuff in the can when my kitchen garbage is right here. But Loop negates that is­sue.

“We want peo­ple to be able to live their life in Loop and have the op­por­tu­nity to live a waste free life. We want to be that utopian, we want to be that far-reaching,” Rossi said. “In 50 years time, our goal and this is su­per utopian - but we want our kids, our grand­kids to look back at this pe­riod at hu­man his­tory and say, ‘what the hell were they do­ing?’ We want the idea of waste and dis­pos­abil­ity to be a blip. We want Loop to be the norm. Wher­ever prod­ucts are be­ing sold and con­sumed, we want those prod­ucts to be in durable con­tain­ers.”

It’s go­ing to hap­pen. It’s the most ob­vi­ous, easy answer. And when it does, and when Loop be­comes the norm, al­ways re­mem­ber: It was born right here in Tren­ton.

How about, “Tren­ton Re­duces, the World Reuses?” Get­ting warmer, right?


Waste-free pack­ag­ing, as de­signed by Loop, part of Tren­ton’s Ter­ra­cy­cle.

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