These Groundbreaking Startups Will Forever Change Our Relationship to Single-Use Plastic
Plastic pollution is one of our greatest environmental threats. These companies are fighting back
Remember when the idea of bringing reusable grocery bags to the store felt impossible? Look how far we have come! However, there is so much more to do to mitigate consumers’ reliance on single-use plastics. These companies are changing the way we think about packaged goods, from ice cream containers to takeout boxes. We’re betting that these forward-thinking startups are poised to make a huge impact on single-use plastics and forever change consumers’ habits.
You heard it here first: Loop is going to revolutionize packaging. Loop is a first-of-its-kind shopping system that delivers consumer goods, like food and cleaning products, in multi-use containers that are then collected, cleaned, refilled, and reused. It’s like the milkman model of yore, but on a much larger scale.
The company is a collaboration between TerraCycle and several major consumer product brands, like Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars Petcare, The Clorox Company, and Coca-Cola. Loop’s goal is to create a “zero-waste option for the world’s most popular consumer products while maintaining affordability, improving convenience, and returning disposable or durable items to a circular life cycle.”
Loop launches in spring 2019; sign up at loopstore.com.
Did you know that restaurant to-go boxes are a major source of litter in our oceans, not to mention a big contributor to landfills and a major greenhouse gas producer? Yes, even those “recyclable” cardboard containers, which tend to be too dirty to actually recycle. That is where GO Box wants to make a difference.
GO Box is a subscription service ($21.95/year) for reusable restaurant takeout containers. The service works through an app, which identifies local participating food carts and restaurants. When you order to-go through the app, those eateries package up your food in reusable containers. When you are done with the food, you return your container to a “drop site,” marked in the app, and the GO Box team collects, cleans, and sanitizes the containers so they can be reused again. Better yet, all of the box commuting happens by bike!
As of spring 2019, GO Box is only available in Portland and San Francisco; stay tuned for more locations.
You can’t beat the convenience of online shopping, but the amount of trash created by e-commerce is terrifying. That’s where RePack comes in, with multi-use packaging created out of recycled materials.
Right now, RePack is available in three adjustable sizes and geared to the apparel industry. Each reusable envelope provides superior protection for the products inside, and best of all, can be returned to any mailbox, anywhere, free of charge.
Vessl wants to “break the disposable bottle paradigm” via a bottle closure that “automatically propels and instantly mixes the active ingredients (vitamins, flavors, gasses, serums, etc.)” of a chosen beverage into a reusable bottle. Since most beverages use water as their main ingredient, the idea is that the consumer would attach their Vessl to a multi-use bottle filled with water and dispense their desired drink’s active ingredients into the container with a simple twisting action (just like opening any capped drink). The idea is for brands to sell packs of their Vessls for consumers to make their own products at home using reusable containers, thus significantly reducing the volume of plastic by eliminating single-use bottles.
The technology is currently used by an iced tea company and a performance drink brand, but Vessl has their sights on all types of liquids: alcohol, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, dairy, agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, and more.