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Big brands are testing reusable containers this year — would you buy in?

Circa 1930: Milk bottles are cleaned by machine and then collected and packed into crates by workers.
Circa 1930: Milk bottles are cleaned by machine and then collected and packed into crates by workers.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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It’s a green shopper’s dream to curb plastic waste: Häagen-Dazs in stainless steel pints, Tropicana in glass bottles, Pantene in aluminium containers and hundreds more products all refillable and delivered to your door in what harkens back to the days of the milkman.

But whereas the milkman would replenish your dairy on the spot, this pilot program, called Loop, would collect and clean your containers before scheduling the next service.

Backing Loop are dozens of big name companies including PepsiCo and Nestlé, which announced their project at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in hopes that eco-conscious consumers are ready to deliver on their calls for eliminating single-use containers. New York, Paris and London will be the first cities to test the refillable brands.

But is the reusable market still too niche? How cost-effective would the rollout be and what unintended environmental impacts would need to be avoided, such as even more congested roads to keep up with delivery? More importantly — would you buy in?

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Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle, a recycling firm and parent company for the pilot program Loop, which will handle the delivery, returns and cleaning for a number of companies testing refillable brands; he tweets @Tom__Szaky

Susan Collins, head of the Container Recycling Institute, a nonprofit focusing on research and education towards container recycling and deposit systems

Kit Yarrow, consumer research psychologist, professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco and author of “Decoding the New Consumer Mind