Lidl launches UK’s first ‘smart’ laundry refill station

Lidl has launched the UK’s first ever laundry detergent refill station, which will use innovative smart chip technology to save both money and plastic waste.

The pilot scheme – which the discount supermarket has launched in partnership with Chilean sustainability start-up Algramo – is expected to save almost 3,000 single-use plastic containers over the six-month period.

The refill bottles have been specially designed with a UK-first smart chip, which allows the machine to register and recognise the bottle. Once complete, shoppers can collect the ticket printed with the chosen product’s barcode and pay at the till with the weekly shop.

Customers will also save approximately 10% every time they use the laundry detergent refill station, meaning they will never pay more for the more sustainable choice.

The dedicated, 100% recyclable refill bottle – which comes filled with one of four Lidl own-brand laundry detergents – can be bought for the same price as a standard single-use bottle.

The trial builds on Lidl’s commitment to combatting plastic waste. It has already removed 1 billion pieces of plastic from stores and committed to reduce plastic packaging by 40% by 2025.

Read more: Ban plastic bottles and return to using glass, former minister pleads

“At Lidl, we believe you shouldn’t have to pay more for doing the right thing,” said CSR manager Mark Newbold.

“It’s why we’re especially proud to be trialling this pioneering refill technology that not only helps customers reduce their plastic usage, but also their weekly shopping bill.”

The six-month trial is just the first step of Lidl’s partnership with Algramo, which is an international benchmark for the circular economy. Further pilot schemes to offer improved customer experience and potential savings will be launching later this year.

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