UK grocers including, Morrisons, Waitrose, Ocado, M&S and the supply-chain company CHEP have joined a refillable grocery partnership in a bid to offer consumers unpackaged options in-store and let customers fill containers with essentials during home deliveries.
These supermarkets form part of the Refill Coalition group – led by Unpackaged, a company that runs refill stations in stores including Plant Organic – and plan to start the rollout by the end of the year.
Supermarkets will start their refill lines with dry goods including pasta, rice, cereals, seeds, grains, nuts and dried fruits; and will also offer household and personal care products such as washing up liquid, shampoo and handwash.
Grocers including Waitrose and M&S are currently trialling some refill stations in a few branches.
“Working together to create a universal system gives us the best chance of scaling refills so they become accessible to every shopper in the UK, as we know consumers want less single-use plastic packaging on the items they buy,” Unpackaged founder Catherin Conway said to The Guardian.
“An industry-wide approach will lead to a refill system that works for everyone in the supply chain and will make refilling easier for shoppers.
“This is the first step towards the fundamental removal of large quantities of single-use plastic packaging from regular grocery shopping.
“If we can make refills more available and affordable for shoppers, I am in no doubt that this will become a commonplace way of shopping in the future across all retailers, in the UK and farther afield.”
M&S, Morrisons, Ocado, Waitrose & Partners and CHEP said in a joint statement: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with the mutual objective of reducing single-use plastic packaging.
“The universal end-to-end solution being developed by the Refill Coalition presents a landmark opportunity for us to make a step-change in the commercialisation of refills which we know can play a significant role in the reduction of single-use plastic packaging.”