Imagine: ice cream in a metal tub.
Disposable food packaging has become a hot button issue lately, with plastic straws nabbing much of the attention. Full-service restaurants in California are no longer allowed to give customers single-use straws unless they ask for them specifically, and fast food giants like Shake Shake and Starbucks are promising to do away with them altogether. (The former plans to remove them from all establishments this year, while the latter has set 2020 as their target straw-free zone.) And now, Nestlé and PepsiCo are taking the eco-friendly initiative one step further by offering completely resuable packaging on some of their most popular items. (Haagen-Dazs ice cream would come in a metal drum and Tropicana orange juice would be packaged in a glass bottle, to start).
Think of it as a "milkman model." Both companies will be testing their new, reusable containers on a shopping platform run by recycling company TerraCycle Inc., the Wall Street Journal reports. The products will arrive in a reusable tote bag, and, once they're finished, users will schedule a time for the empty containers to be picked up, cleaned, and refilled. Items will cost about the same as their single-use-container counterparts, but customers will also have to pay a deposit of $1 to $10 per container. (In the article, Susan Collins, head of the Container Recycling Institute, does acknowledge that those deposit fees could be a deterrent for potential consumers.) Shipping charges are roughly $20, but they decrease with every item added.
“From a philosophical point of view, we have got to lean in and learn about this stuff,” Simon Lowden, president of PepsiCo’s global snacks group, told the WSJ. “People talk about recyclability and reuse and say they’d like to be involved in helping the environment, so let’s see if it’s true.” It's a start, right?