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Loblaw, Loop want to bring back the old milkman model to cut plastic waste — but will consumers get on board?

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“If anything,” he added, “in some ways, we’re returning to the way society may have been a long time ago, where resources were much more scarce.”

Loop is part of an intensifying push for new alternatives to single-use plastics in the manufacturing sector, according to the Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada trade association.

“Companies are looking at every opportunity to provide consumers with good alternatives,” said Michelle Saunders, FHCP’s vice-president of sustainability.

For example, Kraft Heinz Canada is putting its classic glass ketchup bottle into the Loop system for the Ontario pilot, hoping to reach 5,000 consumers. But the plan is to add more Kraft Heinz brands, which include Kraft Dinner and Kraft Peanut Butter.

“If we manage to succeed in all of this, I do see this increasing over time,” said Bruno Keller, president of Kraft Heinz Canada. “I’m sure that many Canadians will embrace the opportunity, knowing that they’re reducing the footprint to the new generations.”

That appears to be the main question behind the whole test. For pilot participant Loblaw Cos. Ltd., a good test could lead to a scenario, in the near future, where shoppers drop off their dirty containers as they enter a store. But before that happens, consumers need to prove there’s demand for it.

“The consumers told us plastic waste, packaging waste, is a concern to them,” said Ian Gordon, Loblaw’s senior vice-president of plastics. “We’re giving them an opportunity to do something about that. And if there is high consumer demand, we absolutely will respond to that.”

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