'It's a no-brainer': Philly startup delivers zero-waste products to your doorstep

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It started as an idea to reduce waste and live cost-efficiently in the city. Now, it's come full circle.

"Imagine if we all get our hand soap, and our toilet paper, and our household personal care pantry staples delivered to us on the same day at the same time with no boxes," said Alex Torrey. "In theory, that could work, right?"

In 2019, Torrey co-founded The Rounds, which is a refill and delivery service for everyday products. The shape that inspired its name is symbolic for the wheels on their delivery bicycles, the routes they travel around the city, the art of recycling, and the planet they feel so passionately about protecting.

Philadelphia residents can subscribe with a $6 monthly fee and purchase items from the comfort of their homes. Members will receive reliable weekly deliveries from dispatchers at hyperlocal Neighborhood Refillment Centers.

"We drop off everything in reusable containers, we pick up your empties to put those back into the system with zero waste and in a much more sustainable way," said Torrey.

Philadelphia resident Dana Magnuson says it's a no-brainer.

"I was really looking for a way to reduce waste while still getting the convenience and the products that I need," she said. "I was actually a milk delivery person myself in high school, so I was really excited to sign up and see that it was a sustainable alternative."

Members like Magnuson log on to TheRounds.co and enter their zip code to see if they live in an eligible location. Then, they check off their preferences of snacks, hygiene products, and other essentials. The program's predictive technology allows users to "set it and forget it."

"They kind of learn how often I'm ordering these products, and so every week, my order gets smarter," said Magnuson.

For example, if someone manually orders toothpaste roughly every six weeks, The Rounds will begin automatically delivering toothpaste every six weeks.

"It's not about you having to go online, add to cart, check out," said Torrey. "Let us manage the inventory for these hundreds of staples in your home and truly put it on autopilot."

By reusing and returning bags and containers, customers like Magnuson find they are producing less trash in their city.

"It feels great to know that I'm not, you know, polluting the streets," she said, "And really helping our sanitation workers any way we can and helping the world."

Currently, The Rounds only delivers to those who live within the city limits of Philadelphia. But with a successful installment in Washington D.C., they hope to expand soon.

"Ultimately we think this can be very successful in every city in the U.S.," said Torrey. "It does feel to me like this is why I was put on this earth, is to build a startup like this."

To learn more, visit their website.

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