It’s Friday, February 1, and a new service could change the way big companies package their goods.

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Back in the not-so-distant past, people got their milk delivered in glass bottles, and then returned those bottles to be filled up with milk again. A service called Loop is trying to bring that idea back on a broader scale (minus the milkman ringing your doorbell).

A group of 25 big companies, including giants like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Nestlé, are behind the new service, which works like a subscription plan for reusable goods. Subscribers to Loop would get stuff like orange juice, granola, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream in reusable containers delivered to their front doors by UPS drivers. When the containers are empty, subscribers schedule the receptacles for pickup instead of throwing them into the trash. Loop then cleans the containers and sends them out again. Presto! A virtuous loop.

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The service is set to launch in May in areas of Paris, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. And the cost? What you’d usually pay for a gallon of OJ or a pint of ice cream, plus a deposit fee that ranges from $1 to $10, and a shipping fee that starts at $20 (and falls based on how many products you buy).

Of course, many people can’t afford to drop extra dough on sustainable packaging, and the service isn’t likely to put a dent in our enormous plastics problem anytime soon. But is it heartening that big companies are reconsidering the way they package their products? Yes!

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