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From Fast Company, a story about how 25 Kroger-owned Fred Meyer stores in Portland, Oregon, are featuring a new section that "will sell common products, like hand soap, in reusable packaging that customers can later bring back to the store," using Loop, a platform for reusable packaging.

According to the story, "Customers pay a deposit on the package, which they get back when they return it to a drop-off bin in the store. Then Loop sorts the packaging at a 'micro node' nearby, and sends it to a larger facility for cleaning and sanitizing, before ultimately returning it to a manufacturing facility to be refilled and reused. Some of the brands in the platform use standard packaging that just hasn’t been reused in the past, like Gerber baby food in glass containers."

The system is similar to one being tested by Tesco in the UK.

Kroger says that if the system works, it will roll the Lop platform out to other markets it serves.  Fast Company writes that "Kroger chose to launch first in Fred Meyer stores in Portland … because the company knew that customers in the area were particularly interested in sustainability (the stores also have a larger physical footprint than some of the company’s other supermarkets, so there was more space available for the new display)."

KC's View:

I love this conceptually, but launching this during a pandemic strikes me as possibly counter-intuitive.  Though, maybe they just have to do an even better job of communicating the advantages and safety of the system than they would otherwise.