The UK Refill Coalition has launched a new pilot with an Aldi store in Solihull, as part of its shared mission to tackle single-use plastic packaging waste.
The solution – a reusable bulk vessel – has been developed to deliver refills at scale for key food staples (e.g., cereals and pasta) and household products (e.g., cleaning and personal care products) – allowing retailers to sell refill products at a cheaper price than their packaged equivalents.
The Refill Coalition is comprised of Aldi UK, Ocado Retail, and the supply chain solutions company CHEP and was convened in 2020 by GoUnpackaged, the UK’s leading refill experts.
The in-store solution will replace current bulk dispensers in Aldi stores with reusable vessels located at refill stations. Subject to a successful trial, Coalition retailers intend to roll out more refill stations in their stores and online.
According to the global initiative, if every household in the UK refilled just one item per week, it would eliminate over 1.4 billion items of single-use packaging per year.
Whilst supermarkets have done much to reduce plastic packaging, Greenpeace figures estimate that at least 56.5 billion units of single-use plastic packaging are sold by the UK grocery market each year.
Earlier this year, Aldi became the latest retailer to join the UK Refill Coalition’s fight against single-use plastic packaging.
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Aldi plastics and packaging director at Aldi, Luke Emery said: “We are pleased to have installed the first in-store refill solution as part of the Refill Coalition in our Solihull store.
“We are continuing our work to reduce single-use plastics and packaging, and making unpackaged product options more commonplace for our customers is a key part of this.”
Ocado Retail director of own-brand, technical and sustainability, Rachel Cox-Reynolds commented: “It’s been a pleasure to join forces with our industry peers in the Coalition with the mutual objective of reducing single-use plastic packaging.
“We’re proud that Ocado will be leading the concept for online deliveries in the new year, making it easier than ever for customers to refill everyday staples from the convenience of their doorsteps.”
In May, Waitrose became the first UK supermarket to sell a refill pouch for olive oil.