LoopStore Reduces Packaging, Recycling Reclaims Styrofoam

LoopStore Reduces Packaging, Recycling Reclaims Styrofoam

In recent recycling news, Terracycle launched LoopStore.com on May 21, 2019. Terracycle’s LoopStore business model is fashioned as a return to the “milkman delivery service”. Customers purchase stainless steel containers and pay for shipping. The containers are then filled with items such as Tide or cereal.  The customer returns the empty containers for refills.

The idea is to remove single use packaging from the process.  Many well-known companies have signed on to this business model already.

In other recycling news, chemical recycling by a handful of plants such as Agilyx in Portland, Oregon, offers a way of reclaiming dirty plastic and Styrofoam before they hit the world’s oceans. Chemical recycling is used on items which cannot be recycled in traditional recycling plants.

Video Spotlight:

This post is based on the CBS News article, New service sells brand-name products without plastic containers, by Meg Oliver, May 15, 2019; and the YouTube videos, New service helps consumers cut down on plastics, by CBS News, May 15, 2019, and Chemical recycling could be an industry game changer, by CBS This Morning, April 3, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock/KPG_Payless

Discussion Questions:

1.  Which strategic capacity strategy should Terracycle consider for LoopStore.com, and why?

Guidance: This is an easy question to get students to review the basic capacity strategies (lead, lag, and straddle).  After the students have made their case for various strategic approaches to capacity, the instructor could then ask students to describe methods to employ to monitor capacity needs and methods that might be employed to manage short- and long-term capacity in the event this company grows quicker than expected.

2. As noted in the video, Coca-Cola produces about 20% of the total plastic bottles in the world each year. How would you suggest Coca-Cola consider reducing this amount of plastic annually?

Guidance: In a class discussion, students could brainstorm ideas for reducing plastic waste, such as a “plant within a plant” strategy of recycling on site at its bottling plants, building partnerships with various recycling companies, or moving to bio-degradable containers.

If time permits, student teams could each be assigned a different potential solution to research, and present some high-level ideas to the class.


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