Closing the Loop on Packaging Waste
Few people remember a time when the milkman would deliver glass bottles filled with milk to families’ homes, then return a few days later to collect the empty bottles to be cleaned and reused. This bygone business model is being reborn through Loop™, a groundbreaking system created by TerraCycle, an international recycling leader.
Loop provides a variety of consumer goods in reusable and returnable packaging. Customers order products online, then UPS delivers the items to the customer’s door packaged in a durable Loop-branded “tote.” Customers use the products, then UPS collects the tote with empty containers, which are then cleaned and refilled. Products are available from the world’s largest consumer goods companies, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Danone, Mars Petcare, and Mondelēz International.
UPS is a long-time logistics provider for TerraCycle, having helped the company navigate the complexities of moving goods across global borders. It was a natural next step for TerraCycle to ask UPS for input on the Loop concept and tote. UPS’s Package Design and Test Lab provided design consultation, incorporating learnings from thousands of packaging tests that helped shape the final innovative tote. The lab also tested the reusable tote to ensure it could withstand high-volume shipping in UPS’s facilities.
Loop is being piloted in the mid-Atlantic U.S. and Paris, with plans to expand to other cities through 2020.
Sharing Low-Carbon Solutions for Cities
UPS has been collaborating for years with various city partners and other stakeholders to develop and test innovative package delivery solutions in dense urban areas. In Europe, these partnerships are growing more critical as cities create pedestrian-only, as well as low- and zero-emissions zones targeted at easing congestion, reducing emissions, and improving life for urban residents.
One of these collaborations is the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LCVP), a United Kingdom-based public-private membership organization that convenes stakeholders working toward reducing emissions from all forms of road transport, including cars, buses, and commercial vehicles. The partnership comprises nearly 200 organizations, with individual working groups developing and proposing topic-specific solutions for government, industry, and key stakeholders. With solutions like a workable definition for an “ultra-low emissions truck,” which could then be used by governments in programs that incentivize the uptake of these vehicles, the LCVP is leading the way for sustainable logistics in one of Europe’s largest markets.
Influencing Air Freight Sustainability
Air freight is a critical component of our global logistics network, helping us quickly connect customers around the world. Currently, global air transport represents around 2 percent of total global carbon dioxide emissions, and its contribution is growing.
Today, renewable aviation biofuels are not feasible from a scale and economic perspective. However, we continue to support innovation that will accelerate the development of lower-carbon fuels for aviation. In 2018, UPS was among the first companies to join the Sustainable Air Freight Alliance (SAFA) organized by BSR (formerly Business for Social Responsibility). SAFA is a buyer-supplier collaboration for shippers, freight forwarders, and air freight carriers to track and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from air freight and promote responsible freight transport. Through this new forum, member companies learn best practices, share data tracking tools, and leverage collective action to shape international standards. These activities are reinforced by BSR’s data-driven approach to measurement, reporting, and verification, enabling companies to chart a new course for sustainable air transport.