New company encouraging people to reuse delivered products instead of recycle

Reusing Products vs recycling

LANGHORNE, PA (CBS) - The Environmental Protection Agency says only about 9 percent of the plastic created in the U.S. is recycled.

Now, one company is trying to revive an old idea to help with this modern day problem. It’s like a modern day milkman.

Like millions of Americans, Cheryl Suvalic has products delivered to her house, but the new service she’s testing is a little different.

“It’s just like any other e-commerce site," she said. "You order your products, and then the only difference is when you get it, everything about the entire order, there’s nothing to recycle, everything is reusable.”

The site, called Loop, sells dozens of brand name products from Tide detergent to Hagen Dazs ice cream in stainless steel or other reusable containers. When Cheryl is finished, she doesn’t toss it in the trash or recycle bin. Instead, she packs it up and ships it back.

Tom Szaky is the CEO of Terracycle, the company behind Loop. He pointed out that the vast majority of the products we use end up in a landfill or the ocean.

Loop’s empty containers are sent back to the plant where they are washed, sterilized and sent to the manufacturer to be refilled.

“The world’s largest companies, from P&G to Nestle, from Mars to Unilever, Clorox, Coke, Pepsi, all these guys, have joined,” Szaky said.

How will it help the environment?

“When you move from single use products and packages to multi-use, what you’re doing is you’re eliminating the need to create packaging over and over and over,” Szaky said.

Cornell Professor Glen Dowell like what Loop is trying but said all that shipping has an environmental impact.

“When we think about the footprint of the transportation of getting the containers back and forth,” Dowell said, “it’s going to be quite a few times that these containers have to be reused before they’re better in an environmental sense than the plastic containers they replace.” will be available to the public on May 21.

“I do it because I believe in the program and I believe in the concept,” Cheryl Suvalic said.

She paid a one-time deposit of $2.50 for each container and a $7 shipping fee for each order, but she believed it’s money well-spent.

Copyright 2019 CBS. All rights reserved.