• Ander Zabala

My Loop-Tesco, reusable shopping online, experience

I first heard of Loop last year, when we were doing our #1bin1year zero waste challenge. I was excited to have this in the UK. But in the end I found refillable and reusable local shops, as the big supermarkets didn’t offer zero waste options. Then, Loop UK launched in July 2020, and I signed up to it.


How does it work?

  1. Log in to Loopstore.co.uk, add products to basket;

  2. A deposit is paid on each piece of packaging (between 20p and £5) and the Loop Tote (£10);

  3. Order before 2pm for next day delivery (Free delivery until September);

  4. DPD courier email you a time slot, receive order;

  5. Open Tote bag, either decant contents into your own containers or use theirs. Keep all containers and Tote bag until next delivery;

  6. Order again and give back your empty containers and Tote and receive a new one, or schedule a pick up and receive the deposit back.



What was my experience?

  • Order online: The website was fine, it worked, and it is clear how much you pay per product and deposit. One small thing, the images for the products take about 2 seconds to load, in my phone and different browsers in the laptop. It’s noticeable when browsing between pages. Some products are discounted, labelled as ”Too Good to Waste”.

  • Delivery: On time, no time slot option, one given by DPD by email. on delivery day.

  • Unboxing: I ordered 5 items, and the Tote bag isn't small, it was more than half empty. If you order more items it makes sense to have this size, but it seems too big when ordering a relatively low number of products. I suspect they will encourage customers to order more products per delivery. When folded it takes less space, but you will need to find a place to put it before next pickup. The idea is that in the not long distant future we replace our recycling bin for a reusable packaging 'bin', but at the moment you need space for both, your recycling and the reusable containers. I didn’t receive the Porridge Oats, I wasn’t charged for it, but I didn’t notice. They send you an email order when you pay, and then another email on delivery day. I wasn’t made aware that they didn’t include it. I had also ordered a discounted price labelled as ‘Too Good To Waste’, but I was then charged the full price for it. The glass containers come in polystyrene wrapping and the containers come with a small amount of plastic film to seal it. No instructions on what to do with this ‘waste’.

  • Cost: Some products are more expensive than Tesco’s recyclable product equivalents. Others are similar in price. It all comes down to what type of products you tend to buy, eg £20 for liquid hand soap or £6 for each hand soap bar. If you buy white label products this isn't for you. I paid a total of £28.40 for 5 products, £13.90 for deposits and £20 for the products with a 20% introductory offer of £5.70. See image below for my bill.


Positives

Super easy to use

Clear how much you pay for the deposits

Sturdy reusable containers

First reusable online shopping from a supermarket

Clear instructions on how it works

Lower environmental impact when packaging is reused after 4 times


Negatives

Some products are 100% more expensive than the recycling equivalent in Tesco (not all)

Online product image loading lag

Not a full range of products (yet)

Water in reusable containers available at £3.80 for 0.5 litre, (is this even needed?)

Polystyrene wrapping for glass containers (to be reused or disposed by customer?)

Not obvious when a product is not available after ordering

No time slot delivery option


Is this for me?

At this point, no. But when they add more products (Bulldog moisturiser!) that I can’t buy locally, I would definitely revisit it. However, I have access to refillable and reusable products literally 3 minutes walk from our home, but the rest of the UK does not have this option, and I can see a market for this. Overall, I am genuinely excited to see it grow and for supermarkets and product makers to learn from this trial and bring a true circular economy mainstream. To make this go big, we will also need support from government legislation which will incentivize manufacturers and packaging producers, a carbon tax for example?








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