METRO and Loop launch industry’s first reusable packaging solution

24 February 2021

METRO France introduced its partnership with the Loop initiative to reduce single-use plastic packaging. Together with METRO and various suppliers, Loop is now extending its reuse deposit service to wholesale.

Loop and METRO Logo

The concept is based on a simple but efficient principle: the customer buys and uses the product, but the manufacturer owns the packaging.

91% of the plastic produced worldwide is currently not recycled. At the same time, more and more consumers are questioning their purchasing behaviour and are looking for sustainable products. Companies have to react to the increasing demand of their customers, this holds just as true for the HoReCa industry. Around 77% of consumers said they are willing to pay more for sustainably packaged products. To enable its professional customers to respond to this increasing demand, METRO France is the first wholesaler worldwide to offer the solution developed by Loop in part of its wholesale stores.

Founded by the recycling company TerraCycle, Loop was launched to develop a circular economy system that offers the possibility to buy everyday products (food, hygiene and personal care products) in durable, reusable packaging and return them at different locations of the Loop network. Loop has already been working for 3 years with major brand manufacturers and retailers in the transition from disposable to reusable packaging. Together with METRO and various suppliers, Loop is now extending the circular supply chain to wholesale. The common goal: to offer professional customers a range of products in reusable packaging and thus sustainably reduce the use of single-use plastic. This means that the packaging of the products involved, can go through the reuse cycle several hundred times before they are being disposed and recycled.

The Loop deposit system will be introduced as a pilot version from autumn 2021 in 10 METRO stores in the Ile-de-France region, serving more than 100,000 customers. METRO and Loop are currently in talks with suppliers to develop a solution that is specifically tailored to the needs of restaurant owners. The products to be offered include oils, sauces, condiments and creams. These products can then be purchased in eco-designed and reusable packaging. An amount corresponding to the deposit fee will be added to the price of the product and refunded as soon as the packaging is returned. They are then sorted, cleaned and returned to the partner brands for refilling.

"For several years now, METRO has been raising awareness among restaurant owners to the challenges of their ecological footprint with its 'My Sustainable Restaurant' offer and developing offers and solutions to help them to take the first step towards reducing it. The collaboration with the Loop team now allows us in France to work with our suppliers on a circular model that reduces the amount of discarded packaging by going through a reuse stage before the final stage of recycling, " explains Marie Garnier, Director Quality and Sustainable Development at METRO France.

METRO France reaches around 400,000 customers with 98 stores. By launching the Loop reusable deposit service, METRO now offers these customers a convenient and sustainable alternative in terms of packaging and thus contributes to avoiding packaging waste. Doing away with single-use plastic also has many advantages for their businesses. Not only are disposal fees saved, but sustainable action also has a positive effect on the image, which in turn brings new guests and promotes economic success. In addition, more and more countries have strict legal guidelines on the use of disposable plastic, which are thus complied with.