Circular logistics is used to describe supply chains where items are reclaimed, reused, or resold rather than allowing the products to end up as waste. While many businesses have the potential to create circular supply chains, they are most common in electronics recycling where items or materials within items can be returned by customers and reused or recycled into future items. These circular processes in supply chains help to reduce waste and can increase profits for businesses. Traditionally these circular chains have focused on the items which customers are buying.
UPS is changing that, with the implementation of their Loop program. Loop is creating a circular supply chain not for the items customers order, but for the packaging in which the orders are delivered. Customers receive their items from UPS in a sturdy, reusable box. When the box is empty, customers can easily request a free pick-up for the box, which UPS will then clean and reuse for another delivery. The goal of this program is to increase sustainability in the last mile, reducing the packaging waste often produced when items are delivered to customers.
Customers often site sustainability as being an important value for their shopping habits, however, statistics show that customers are unlikely to uphold this value when prices for sustainable items are higher. That's why UPS has ensured that Loop program items are priced competitively, making it easy for customers to choose the Loop program items over less sustainable alternatives. Testing for the program is ongoing in Europe and the UK, and will be moving into the US market shortly if all goes well.