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Haagen-Dazs and Tropicana Are Testing Reusable, Refillable Containers

In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, disposable food packaging has become one of the most despised forms of consumer waste. Though many companies, like Kroger and Starbucks, have focused on eliminating single use plastic bags and straws from their inventory, others are going one step further.

Nestlé and PepsiCo have announced plans to offer entirely reusable packaging for some of their most popular items. Haagen-Dazs ice cream, for example, would be sold in a metal drum and Tropicana orange juice would be packaged in a glass bottle. This "milkman model" is an attempt to minimize the glut of plastic pollution invading our oceans.

Statistics show that an estimated 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans each day. Also, recent studies show marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined, while 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and one million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution each year.

Both Nestlé and PepsiCo will test new, reusable containers on a shopping platform managed by recycling company TerraCycle Inc., the Wall Street Journal reports. The product containers, which will arrive in a reusable tote bag, can be scheduled to be picked up, cleaned, and refilled. The items will cost the same as single-use-containers, however, customers will also pay a deposit of $1 to $10 per container.

“From a philosophical point of view, we have got to lean in and learn about this stuff,” Simon Lowden, president of PepsiCo’s global snacks group, told the WSJ. “People talk about recyclability and reuse and say they’d like to be involved in helping the environment, so let’s see if it’s true.” It's a start, right?

Other companies testing reusable containers include, Unilever, which will sell Axe and Dove deodorants in refillable steel containers that will have a shelf life of eight years, and Procter & Gamble, which will market Pantene shampoo in aluminum bottles and Tide detergent in stainless steel containers.

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Given that an estimated 25 percent of all recyclable products end up in landfills, companies are beginning to accept their immense contribution to global carbon emissions. Though these reusable items are still being tested, experts say there is no time to waste. An October 2018 report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said human beings have only 12 years to make changes to prevent the worst effects of global warming. Therefore, the days of single use containers need to be short-lived.

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