(Freedom Island Waste Clean-up and Brand Audit in the Philippines Sept 14,2017.) A new idea is to avoid waste and garbage, and even the recycling of plastic, by creating a programme of refill and reuse of plastic containers called "LOOP" (photo Greenpeace)

Too much plastic: a new effort at reduction through re-use

It’s called “Loop”. A proposal at the Davos World Economic Forum this month would see major manufacturers help in re-use of their products by picking up empty product containers, say from ice cream, or laundry detergent, then sanitise them, refill them, and deliver them back to the consumer.

Vito Buonsante, Plastics Program Manager with Environmental Defence explains the concept

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The ways things are going, it’s estimated that the amount of plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish by 2050.

Vtio Buonsante of Environmental Defence (supplied)

A pilot project is set to start in a small area of France, with other small pilot projects to begin in the U.S. starting in May,  and possibly also in London, England, and Toronto, Canada next year followed by Tokyo and San Francisco.

Some of the biggest consumer products manufacturers are on board including Proctor and Gamble, Unilever, Nestle and others.

TerraCycle has partnered with UPS delivery service in the LOOP project to market products from multinationals like- Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola European Partners, Mondelēz International, Danone, Lesieur, BIC, Beiersdorf, Carrefour and others. The products sold online would be delivered by UPS, and empty containers placed in the LOOP box where UPS would pick them up for refill so the containers don’t end up in landfill. (LOOP)

About 300 products are included in the pilot project which would be purchased online, and when the container is empty, it’s placed in a Loop container on the doorstep where it is picked up shipped back to the company, refilled and sent back to consumer.

Buonsante says it’s a good start but it’s not a final solution. Some plastics cannot be recycled or re-used and in fact approximately 90 per cent of all types of plastic are not recycled or re-used and as mentioned, plastic waste is already a major concern in the oceans.

Buonsante says we as consumers have to move away from single use plastics, as he says, a product we may use only for a few minutes but which lasts forever in the environment. In such a case more involvement by government may be necessary.

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