A growing mass of shoppers are passionate about eliminating waste in consumer product packaging, and many well-recognized consumer brands are vying for their loyalty by delivering commonly used products such as deodorant, shampoo and ice cream in packaging that can be reused or recycled.  Now, a company called TerraCycle is making it easier than ever to reach these shoppers with its revolutionary subscription-based service: Loop.

What is Loop?

Often referred to as the “modern day milkman,” Loop makes it convenient to be environmentally conscious and provides a more sustainable solution.  Offering 300 items from popular consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies such as Unilever, PepsiCo and Nestlé in reusable packaging, Loop subscribers simply purchase their favorite products on its websites – loopstore.com and maboutiqueloop.fr and the good ship the goods directly to their homes.  Once the products have been enjoyed, empty containers are placed in a Loop tote on the doorstep.  A carrier (UPS in the U.S.) picks up the tote and returns the containers to the manufacturing facility, where they are cleaned, refilled and shipped out to consumers again.

With popular brands such as Proctor & Gamble and UPS as participants, Loop supporters are hoping the service will create a “snowball effect.” As Americus Reed, marketing professor at the Wharton School theorizes, there is a chance that “even brands that are watching other brands do it will say, ‘I want to be able to be in play in this game as well.”  Should the model catch on and become commonplace for companies looking to add “sustainability advocate” to their list of brand values, Loop could begin to really scale.

Product Packaging Not for the Pantry

In case the sustainability play isn’t enough to lure shoppers, behold Loop’s product packaging: polished… contemporary… in the words of CNN business journalist Danielle Wiener-Bronner: “like something Apple would make.”  A calculated part of the appeal, Loop product packaging is designed in partnership with CPG companies to not only be durable but according to Virginie Helias, vice president and chief sustainability officer at Proctor & Gamble, “counter-worthy.”  In other words, the package is attractive enough to forego the pantry shelf and keep in plain view.

Packaging Artwork assets that often crowd traditional packaging such as ingredient lists and nutritional information are printed on an insert placed inside the Loop tote instead of on the package itself – allowing brands to achieve the sleek, minimalist designs Apple has made popular.

But for all of their avant-garde appeal, the packaging design process for Loop products to date has followed a more traditional path: trial-and-error.  Not only does Loop packaging need to incorporate the usual artwork assets such as brand logo, but it also needs to be able to preserve the product, withstand multiple uses, endure repeat industrial-strength washes and survive the wear and tear that comes with frequent handling.  States Kim Peddle-Rguem, president of Nestlé’s US ice cream division, the packaging redesign for Loop was a “torture test,” not to mention a huge expense.  Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, estimates packaging redesign is costing participating brands as much as seven figures.

 

From Torture to Triumph with 3D Packaging Design Software

Many CPG brands looking to reduce this cost by improving workflow efficiencies and decreasing the amount of “trial and error” in the end-to-end packaging redesign process turn to 3D packaging design software.  Specifically developed with packaging professionals in mind, 3D packaging design software puts structural design, product development, virtual prototyping and manufacturing tools at designers’ fingertips, enabling them to easily transform 2D packaging models into 3D ones with the simple click of a button.

Ideal for Loop partners, companies can also render package designs for different substrates.  A food and beverage company, for example, can see how the packaging for its granola products will look when distributed via a stainless steel canister, versus a box.  And major beauty and personal care brand can envision the base of its deodorant stick in stainless steel, rather than plastic.

With a detailed, realistic image of what the new package will look like in the hands of the consumer, decision-makers can adjust designs as necessary without incurring any production expense.  Added bonus: the software automatically checks the packaging design for structural flaws, reducing errors that would otherwise emerge during the manufacturing process.

To learn more about 3D packaging design software, download this e-book: A Guide to Designing Packaging & Labels in 3D.