Environmental experts warn that our planet is drowning in plastic.

The world’s cities produce 2 billion tons of trash every year. By the year 2050, that number is expected to rise to 3 billion tons. The World Bank estimates that the largest amount of trash today, about 44 percent, is plastic. 

But we often have to buy packaged goods. And often that packaging is made of plastic.

Now, that may be changing.

A new environmentally-friendly shopping model was recently launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This shopping model, called Loop, aims to replace throwaway containers with reusable ones.

Loop is the idea of TerraCycle, an American-based recycling company. Its chief, Tom Szaky, told the Associated Press (AP) that “removing plastics from the ocean is not enough.” He said the point is to get away from disposability and single-use packages.

Szaky said that Loop is the future of shopping. But it comes from an idea of the past.

He likened it to the “milkman model” of the 1950s in the United States. Back then, someone brought milk to your doorstep in glass bottles and then left with empty bottles. These could be cleaned and used again. The result is zero-waste.

Loop will work the same way. Instead of throwing away or recycling a container, the product comes in a reusable one. When the product is all gone, someone will collect and clean the old container, fill it up and then return it to you.

At the start, Loop will offer about 300 products. Many of these include products that Americans use every day. And they come from some of the biggest names in business -- Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Nestle and Coca-Cola, just to name a few.

Proctor & Gamble makes many personal and health care products, such as soap, deodorants and diapers for babies. The company’s vice president and chief sustainability officer is Virginie Helias. She told the AP that the goal of Proctor & Gamble is to use all reusable or recyclable packaging by 2030.

Loop is set to launch later this year in three eastern U.S. states, and also in Paris, France and some of the surrounding area. Then Loop plans to expand to the U.S. West Coast, Toronto, Canada and Britain by the end of this year or early 2020.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

trash /traʃ/ – n. things that are no longer useful or wanted and that have been thrown away

  • The subway entrance was blocked with trash.

packaging /ˈpakɪdʒɪŋ/ – n. the enclosing of something in a container or covering : packaged - adj.

  • Choose goods wrapped in recyclable packaging.

recycling /riːˈsʌɪklɪŋ/  – v. to process (something, such as liquid body waste, glass, or cans) in order to regain material for human use

  • A significant percentage of household waste could be recycled.

disposable /dɪˈspəʊzəb(ə)l/ – adj. designed to be used once or only a limited number of times and then thrown away

  • After they finished, they threw their disposable plates and utensils.

sustainability /səsteɪnəˈbɪlɪti/ – adj. of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged

  • People are concerned about the ecological sustainability of marine farming.


Exercise 2 


Answer these questions about the article.

1. How much of the trash produced by cities is plastic?

2. What is the aim of Loop, the new shopping model?

3. How does Loop work?

4. When and where will Loop launch?


Exercise 3

Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks with the correct word listed below.

trash, packaging, recycle, disposable, sustainability

1. The government is trying to ensure the ______ of economic growth.

2. Take out the ______, please.

3. Replace the ______ razor when the blade becomes dull.

4. They're studying various ways to ______ garbage into fuel.

5. All the ingredients and ______ are biodegradable.


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

1. Would you try Loop? Why/why not?

2. Are you worried about the amount of trash that is produced every day?

3. Do you recycle? 

4. Do you believe that in the future all packaging will be recyclable? 


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA.