In Northwest Arkansas, reuse is being delivered to residents’ doors. That is, if they shop Walmart’s InHome delivery service, which this week started offering an assortment of goods in reusable packaging, in partnership with Loop, TerraCycle’s reuse platform.
Walmart InHome service allows customers to have groceries and other goods delivered to their homes and now they’ll be able to get products in reusable containers from brands such as Gillette, Cascade, Kraft Heinz and Seventh Generation in their orders. During the deliveries, customers can also turn in their empty containers from previous orders.
The companies expect to add additional products in the coming months, for a total of about 30 by the end of 2022, up from about 10.
"Identifying models that can make shopping easy, convenient, affordable and sustainable is a core part of how we pursue our commitment to becoming a regenerative business at Walmart," Corey Bender, vice president for merchandising for household essentials at Walmart U.S., said in a statement. "By leaning into reuse with Loop and so many of our brand partners, we see a unique opportunity to help our customers eliminate packaging and single use plastic from many of their regular purchases."
If we can make it work with Walmart, it's a huge step in the right direction on being able to create a global reuse system.
Walmart, one of the largest retailers in the world, calls Bentonville, Arkansas its birthplace. That’s why that town and neighboring city Rogers will serve as a place for the yearlong pilot.
Loop and Walmart have been in talks about launching a reuse offering for years, according to Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of Loop and TerraCycle. To be able to launch at this point, Loop had to set up a facility in Arkansas where it will clean containers before they’re reused. And Walmart engaged with vendors, such as the brands mentioned above, to make some of their products available for the service.
"What's quite exciting for us about Walmart is that it brings vendors a path to scale because reusable packaging becomes really exciting commercially, when there's a lot of scale behind it. When the scale is low, it's an investment," Szaky said.
While the retailer is launching in a very specific region right now, the plan is to make the reuse service available to a wider audience after it learns more about how its customers respond with the in-home option and what products perform well.
"If we can make it work with [Walmart], it's a huge step in the right direction on being able to create a global reuse system," Szaky said. "It's a very, very important sort of symbol, not just in what volume they produce, but the symbol they send to other retailers, not just in the U.S., but other countries as well."
Loop previously launched its own delivery offering and in-store partnerships with Kroger — it launched a pilot in a couple dozen stores in the Pacific Northwest — and United Kingdom-based Tesco.
Szaky noted that the team involved with the Kroger pilot is currently working on a report about its learnings, which it expects to share in the near future.