LimeLoop: Investing in Sustainable Shipping
To shop responsibly, we must ship responsibly.
E-commerce has revolutionized the way we shop, but it has also become one of our greatest sources of waste. Packaging makes up 30% of solid waste in the U.S. and is only expected to rise with the growth of online purchasing. Last year, about 1.8 billion people worldwide purchased goods online, amounting to 2.8 trillion US dollars in global e-retail sales. By 2021, sales are projected to grow up to 4.8 trillion US dollars. The Straubel Foundation strives to alleviate the effects of e-commerce on the environment by investing in LimeLoop, a company reinventing the way goods are sent and received.
LimeLoop replaces single-use materials associated with our current e-commerce system with a returnable, reusable shipper. The shipper is lightweight, waterproof, and upcycled from used billboards. It can last up to 10 years and can be used over 2,000 times.
The idea is quite simple. Online retailers ship goods to customers in the LimeLoop shipper. After receiving their items, customers flip the mailing label to the prepaid return postage and send the shipper back. Simple, easy, and most importantly, impactful. The VP of Toad&Co (LimeLoop’s first user) explains the decision to invest in reusable shippers: “We can either make all of our recycling facilities more efficient or we can go back to the root of the problem and look at a way to reduce packaging.”
LimeLoop founders Ashley Etling, Viola Sutanto, and Chantal Emmanuel came up with the idea over 10 years ago in search of full-circle packaging. As powerhouse innovators and entrepreneurs, they are the women for the job and already featured in media such as VogueBusiness, FastCompany and Forbes.
As the former COO of Red Clay and founder of multiple companies, Ashley has experience in leading large teams of designers, raising millions of dollars in capital, and partnering with Fortune 500 companies. She is motivated by a vision to “create impact by building a sustainable supply chain from product to door” and works at the intersection of design thinking, business, and technology.
A design entrepreneur at heart and in practice, Viola has been involved in everything from leading creative teams to developing a global supply chain at scale. She believes that “a powerful brand is created through a sustainable supply chain, the packaging experience, and immersing the customer in a memorable experience”.
Finding herself constantly at the intersection of technology and design, Chantal uses software solutions to solve problems. She believes in the power of applying the right technology at the right time.
When asked about their vision for the future, Ashley shared, “Our vision for LimeLoop is to completely reinvent the way goods are sent and received so you can shop guilt-free and your children, family, and friends can thrive in a healthy environment.” Together, these three brilliant women are on a path to change the landscape of e-commerce.
“I was introduced to LimeLoop through my role as Sloan Advisor to the Energy and Environment team at the Stanford Impact Fund. The team looked at hundreds of interesting start-ups but, as we dug into due diligence and impact potential, LimeLoop became increasingly interesting. It’s not only time to think outside the box — it’s time to reinvent it.” shared Boryana Straubel.
The LimeLoop numbers speak for themselves. For every 100 shippers used, we save 1300 trees, 1.78 million gallons of water, and 4000 gallons of oil. We have the opportunity to reduce emissions by as much as 80% simply by replacing cardboard boxes with reusables.
E-commerce changed our lives, but now it’s time to change e-commerce.