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Tesco extends zero-waste shopping service trial from online to stores

Lauretta Roberts
13 September 2021

Tesco is extending its zero-waste shopping service from online to stores to allow people to buy products from major personal care, grocery and household brands in refillable packaging.

Customers in 10 Tesco stores in the east of England can now buy products in reusable packaging that can be returned when finished so it can be cleaned, refilled and used again.

The introduction of the "Loop" service in Tesco stores follows a year-long online pilot that allowed customers to order and return products in reusable packaging to and from their doorstep.

Brands included in the service include major names in personal care such as Simple, Original Source, Carex, Radox and Bulldog along with Bisto, Brewdog, Coca-Cola, Ecover, Fever Tree, Finish, Good4U, Heinz, Mud House, Naked Noodle,  Persil, Quaker Oats, Sipsmiths and Tetley.

Tesco has also included 35 own-brand essentials in the range, such as pasta, rice, oil and sugar, with more products to be added throughout the year.

Customers pay a deposit fee on each piece of packaging ranging from 20p to £5 at the checkout, which is fully refundable via an app when the empty item is returned to a collection point in the store.

Those wishing to opt for reusable packaging visit the Loop fixture in the store and add the products they want into their trolley as a part of their shop.

The Loop range comes pre-filled in the appropriate container for the product, so there is no need for customers to bring their own containers or refill themselves.

Loop sorts and professionally cleans the product packaging to stringent health and safety standards so it can be refilled by the manufacturer, with each container reused a minimum of 10 times.

Tesco and Loop, a spin-off of waste management company TerraCycle, said that if customers in the 10 stores switched their recyclable tomato 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 Group CEO 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.”

Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of Loop and TerraCycle, added: “The consumer reaction to Loop in these first Tesco stores will prove pivotal in refining the Loop offering and ultimately we hope to scale reuse across more stores and the number of product lines available.”

Sue Davies, Which? head of consumer protection policy, said its research showed there was  "demand and savings to be had for consumers who switch to refills and it’s positive to see Tesco expand its zero-waste online shopping trial to stores in the east of England.

“Brands and supermarkets need to make refillable products more widely available to customers. Clearer labelling should also be provided on all grocery products so that people know how they can responsibly dispose of the items they use.”

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