UPS packaging design and testing enables launch of first-of-its-kind reusable consumer packaging solution

25 January 2019

UPS (NYSE: UPS) has joined the coalition of the world’s largest consumer product companies and international recycling leader TerraCycle to unveil an innovative new reusable and returnable system for managing consumer product packaging. The system, entitled Loop, will be tested in Paris and New York as a first step toward full implementation in consumer markets.

The ground-breaking Loop system eliminates the reliance on single-use packaging for consumer goods. Consumers will be offered a variety of products in customized, brand-specific, durable packaging that is delivered directly to customers, then collected, cleaned, refilled and redelivered.

“Loop will not just eliminate the idea of packaging waste, but greatly improve the product experience and shopping convenience,” said TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky.

Loop products will be delivered and picked up via a system designed by TerraCycle and UPS, representing the latest advances in TerraCycle’s long-standing partnership with UPS, a logistics leader and packaging expert. Loop customers will receive durable, reusable or fully recyclable packaging made from materials such as alloys, glass and engineered plastics.

Purpose-Built and Designed by the UPS Package Design and Test Lab

UPS and TerraCycle collaborated to design outer packaging that can handle liquids, dry goods and personal care products, with protective dividers inside, using materials that offer easy cleaning for reuse. The UPS Package Design and Test Lab helped to custom design and test packaging to be appealing to consumers, yet durable enough to be used time and again. The UPS Lab is certified by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) to conduct ISTA package integrity testing procedures. 

During the design and testing, UPS identified solutions to mitigate the following:

  • Materials breakdowns
  • Product leaks
  • Exterior packaging design that showed signs of fatigue after limited use
  • Scratches on metal containers caused by metal closures.

Recommendations provided by the UPS Lab to TerraCycle included multi-threaded closures for product containers, a modified capping approach to reduce the risk of leaking products, and custom dividers within the Loop tote to better hold products in place during transit, among others.

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