1. The Client

A global leader in collecting and repurposing hard-to-recycle waste, Trenton, N.J.-based TerraCycle Inc. launched Loop, a new project to take their mission one step further. The program aims to eliminate waste by creating durable, refillable packaging for common grocery, household and personal care goods. After using the products, customers return the empty containers to Loop to be thoroughly cleaned, refilled with new product and redelivered.

2. The Need

Consumer packaged goods companies that partner with Loop need to create or obtain packaging that meets Loop standards for cleanability, refillability, zero-waste labeling and recyclability. However, explaining these requirements to potential partners was complex and time-consuming, and Loop needed a simplified and streamlined onboarding process that would help these companies develop their own packaging or find suitable packaging vendors.

3. The Innovators

That’s where a team of Villanova MBA students came in. As Loop prepared for its official reveal at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year, 2019 MBA grads Rebekah Hopper, Elizabeth McShane, Sejal Patel, Marissa Smatlak and Mishel Stearns partnered with the company to help them develop a short-term solution that could be implemented quickly.

Advised by Manuel Nuñez ’03 MBA, professor of Practice, Management and Operations, and alumni adviser Stacy Hudgins ’06 EMBA, the student team completed this project for their Social Enterprise Consulting Practicum. This Villanova Business capstone course is designed to give MBA students the opportunity to develop their professional skill set with a client firm that is serving the common good within the greater Philadelphia community — reflecting Villanova’s Augustinian values while teaching students how to work at the intersection of profit and purpose.

4. The Big Reveal

The team created an interactive digital guide to assist new partners with the onboarding process. The guide provided an overview of the Loop concept and packaging and labeling standards, as well as suggestions for design agencies, manufacturers and off-the-shelf packaging vendors.

“The team provided a fresh set of eyes and came up with a number of different ideas that were really helpful,” says Jasmin Druffner, a durable packaging developer at Loop. “Their work provided a great foundation for the guide I ultimately presented in Davos.” Now available in certain Northeast US states and Paris, Loop is in the process of expanding across the US and internationally.

Each issue, Villanova Magazine will give readers a glimpse of a culminating project for a Villanova student or group of students. In these experiences, students get to apply what they know, pursue what they love and present what they discover.