Refill Reuse Resell



This is not breaking news but until retail pilot programs become the norm, it’s a transformation that we are watching unfold.


Brands and retailers are taking on the climate crisis together and shoppers are responding to it.   In India, Hindustan Unilever installed an in-store refill machine for their Home Care products eg washing detergent, fabric softener, with the aim to reuse, reduce and recycle plastic at Reliance Smart Acme Mall. Customers can purchase a Smart Fill bottle or bring an empty container from home and they will be rewarded with a 20% savings compared to the bottled version from the shelves.


We see the good fight against plastic at Asda in the UK but on a larger scale. Late last year, they piloted a sustainability store with 15 refill stations to support 30 household staples, from shampoos to cereals, at no additional cost to the shopper. The company has committed to generating zero carbon emissions by 2040, reducing waste by 50% and having a net regenerative impact on nature no later than 2050. The world of NGOs is endorsing the move. In the retailer’s corporate statement, Nina Schrank, lead plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “Asda’s new sustainability store reflects what people are looking for – the opportunity to go plastic free. The supermarket sector needs to listen to its customers and shift to plastic free groceries and reuse and refill options both in-store and throughout their online delivery operations.”


“Why waste a container when you can refill it? And why buy more of something than you can use? We behaved as my mother did in the Second World War, we reused everything, we refilled everything, and we recycled all we could (…)”.


Well said and ever more relevant by the late & legendary Anita Roddick. The Body Shop is rolling out refill stations across 400 stores by the end of this year, and another 400 next year. They believe a collective effort could save 25 tonnes of plastic annually. Or as they equate to 21 Mini Coopers.


From refills to resell, IKEA’s goal to be 100% circular by 2030 corresponds with the second-hand market boom as shopping habits change amongst younger millennials. Its Buy Back & Resell scheme drives footfall into store, encourages repeat purchase and deepens brand loyalty. IKEA stores in other countries from the UK to Singapore have implemented it. It will be piloting in the U.S near its headquarters in Pennsylvania this month.


So, how have your shopping habits changed over the years?


  • Photo credit to Asda Brand team