When it comes to TerraCycle’s Loop program, which partners with brands and retailers to promote reusable packaging that customers return once they have used the product, color me dubious. I just don’t think that consumers will go to the trouble of returning the empties and, presumably, paying a premium for the privilege. But maybe I’m wrong, and I may soon find out. A pilot program anchored by Canada’s Tim Hortons and Tupperware beginning today will test consumer appetites for reusable meal packaging.
Tupperware has designed reusable polypropylene packaging for Tim Hortons’ breakfast sandwich and other items on the menu. The concept is being test piloted at select Tim Hortons locations in Burlington, ON, starting today.
Tim Hortons and Tupperware are both partners in TerraCycle’s zero-waste platform, Loop.
This is Tupperware’s first foray into the market as a Loop partner and, as far as I know, it’s the first time that the Loop model of returnable packaging has been tried at a restaurant. Typically, products in Loop packaging are shipped directly to consumers, who place a refundable deposit on the packaging, in a tote. Once the empties are returned in the Loop tote, the deposit is automatically added to the account balance and can be applied to the next order.
The process is roughly similar at Tim Hortons, minus the tote. "Guests at participating Tim Hortons pilot locations are able to pay a deposit and receive the reusable food containers," explained Hector Lezama, President of Commercial Business Expansion at Tupperware. "All returned containers are washed and sanitized before they become available to be reused again and again to offset the amount of single-use waste produced."
Tupperware, of course, is an iconic plastic-centric brand that has expertise in engineering resins and sustainable plastics. Its products have always been positioned as an alternative to single-use food storage containers.
Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest restaurant chain in the “quick service” category, with more than 4,000 outlets across the country. The first restaurant was opened in 1964 in Hamilton, ON, not terribly far from where the Loop pilot program is being conducted.
The pilot program and partnership “aligns to our purpose to nurture a better future every day by bringing to life sustainable options in the quick service industry,” said Hector Lezama, President of Commercial Business Expansion at Tupperware. “We look forward to seeing how this pilot program performs.”
And so will I.