To help save the planet, big companies are testing a reusable packaging service

It’s no great secret that we waste a whole lot of packaging. Even with a greater focus placed on recycling, plenty of packaging still winds up in landfills, oceans, and a host of other places. A new startup wants to help change that — and it’s doing it by bringing back a business model many of us haven’t seen in years.

“Loop is the world’s first and only known platform that sells a wide variety of branded products in durable reusable packaging,” Lauren Taylor, a spokesperson for Loop, told Digital Trends. “Once empty, the packaging will be collected at a consumer’s home and automatically refilled. It is an age-old concept — [think] the ‘milkman’ of the 1930s — that is being rebooted, modernized, and applied to hundreds of products that were never [available in reusable] models before.”

Companies working with Loop include Pepsi, Unilever, Nestle, among others. Customers can go to the Loop website or Loop partner website and select the products they want. These are then dropped off in state-of-the-art durable packaging. Items range from foodstuffs to household products. There’s no need to clean and dispose of packages once they’re empty. Consumers simply place the empty container into a provided tote bag, which Loop will then pick up directly from their homes while delivering new ones where required.

“We’ve had a very positive response from the public,” Taylor continued. “I think the world is ready for Loop because consumers and manufacturers have come to realize that recycling is critically important to help a symptom, but it is not going to solve waste at the root cause. … To us, the root cause of waste is not plastic; it’s using things once, and that’s really what Loop tries to change as much as possible.”

Loop will be launching in May in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania in the United States, as well as in the Paris metro region in France. It will follow in the U.K. in the third quarter of the year, while customers in California, Canada, and Japan will get the chance to participate in 2020. Should all go according to plan, presumably other markets will open up after that.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

Apple's Airpods 2 could be released as early as this week

Apple may release new AirPods in the first half of 2019. A wireless charging case, health sensors, water resistance, and better Siri integration are some of the improvements rumored to be part of the new package.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (March 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Product Review

Fitbit’s trimmed-down Versa Lite still has all the smartwatch features you need

Fitbit trimmed some of the features it bundles in its popular Versa smartwatch to keep the price low on it newest smartwatch, the Versa Lite. Does this strategy work? Read our review to find out.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.