Circular economy: Sainsbury’s launches latest refill and reuse scheme

Sainsbury’s has this week debuted new own-brand refillable handwash pouches, in a bid to help customers reduce the amount of plastic they consume at home.

The retailer said it expects the pouches to save a total of 28 tons of plastic every year, because they contain 85 per cent less plastic than single-use bottles sold to customers.

Instead of buying a new bottle every time they need to top up on handwash, customers will be encouraged to reuse their existing handwash bottle, refilling it with the handwash from the pouch, Sainsbury’s said. Customers will also be able to return their used pouches at front-of-store plastic recycling points installed at all UK sites to ensure the material is reused, it said.

Sainsbury’s said the pouches are 35 per cent lower in cost compared to the equivalent bottles, meaning that customers would not have to compromise on affordability to shop more sustainability.

The launch of the new scheme was one of many such initiatives unveiled this week to coincide with World Refill Day.

For example, Silver Circle Distillery, maker of Wye Valley Gin, announced customers can now bring back their empty bottles to a store in Chepstow town center to have them refilled in-house, with a discount on offer for customers who take advantage of the service .

Online customers, meanwhile, can now purchase gin in 50cl refill cans made from recyclable aluminum, whereas hospitality customers buying in bulk can buy the gin at trade prices in reusable 5-litre jerry cans, which they could then use to refill their original bottle for use on the bar.

Silver Circle co-founder Joe Howden said the schemes had been devised to save on waste and reduce the carbon footprint of its products.

“As a distillery we are always looking at ways that we can make our offering more sustainable, and one of the things that we kept hearing from our customers buying Wye Valley Gin, was that they loved the bottle, but it felt kind of wrong to just throw it in the recycling bin after they’d drunk the contents,” he said. “With our new refill scheme, they will only ever have to purchase the original glass bottle once and can simply refill it one of three ways – saving on waste and reducing the carbon footprint.”

Meanwhile, Ecosurety and City to the Sea launched a major new initiative to provide re-useable and returnable coffee cups across Bristol.

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