Paul Jenkins I Reusable and refillable packaging start to accelerate

25 Dec.,2022


Refillable and reusable packaging offers brands and retailers the opportunity to deliver their sustainability goals. Indeed, reuse is one of the three pillars of the UK Plastic Pact, which also includes the delivery of recycling and compostable initiatives by 2025.

ThePackHub’s data indicates a noticeable increase in reusable and refillable innovations coming to our attention via our Innovation Zone platform.

In the last 12 months, ThePackHub has posted 192 refillable and reusable initiatives out of more than 1,200 listed in that time.

This compares to 141 for the same period in the previous year. This demonstrates good growth for the refill and reuse packaging sector, with products across food, beverage, health & beauty, household and pet care increasingly getting in on the act.



McDonald’s France is moving to reusable packaging in its restaurants.

A Twitter post recently went viral showing cola in a reusable plastic glass, and other items in plastic bowls.

The move looks to respond to a News In France report that states that a new law to be introduced in France will prohibit single-use tableware in fast food establishments.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said in the report that this reusable packaging will reduce the waste generated by the restaurant by up to 40%.

They also said that they had experimented with several solutions and think that they have found the one that works best with reusable tableware.

A decision to roll out the solution across France has yet to be made, and it is believed it will be communicated formally once it is operational across more restaurants.

The burger container is particularly striking with the eponymous McDonald’s Golden Arches being incorporated in the top of the pack in what looks like a handle


The Co-op

The Co-op retail chain in Switzerland is bringing back milk in reusable, returnable glass bottles.

The retailer is the first in Switzerland to introduce a reusable glass bottle for milk in decades, but it will only be available for organic whole milk from its own brand Naturaplan.

The return to glass packaging aims to reduce waste and will initially be available in around 100 supermarkets. It is not quite the return of the milkman, as after the customer has purchased their milk in the glass bottle in store, after use it then has to be returned by the consumer to the store.

The new 1-litre glass bottle contains pasteurised organic whole milk from Coop’s own brand Naturaplan, and costs CHF 2.45 (£2.18) plus a deposit of 30 centimes (27p).


East London Liquor Company (ELLC)

The East London Liquor Company (ELLC) has announced the launch of Project Refill.

For off-trade sales, the initiative allows customers to bring any empty 700ml bottle from home.

They can then choose whether to fill it with East London gin, vodka or rum.

The bottle will then be relabelled, and a fresh duty stamp will be added.

The campaign has been launched to combat packaging waste and rising costs by selling its gin, vodka and rum in an additional 10-litre HDPE jerry format.

On-trade accounts can now order ELLC spirits in the kerbside recyclable format so that existing bottles can be refilled for the back bar and speed rails. The CO2 emissions linked to the production of the primary packaging are reportedly reduced by 88% when using the 10-litre HDPE refills versus glass bottles.


Lidl UK

Lidl UK is trialling on-shelf smart refill stations for laundry detergent in two of its stores.

Through the machine’s automated, touchscreen experience, customers can pick up the pouch, choose their favourite detergent and follow the simple on-screen instructions.

Innovative ‘closed-fill’ technology incorporated into the pouch cap allows customers to fill up with the cap still on, enabling faster filling while eliminating the chance of mess and spills. Customers will save around 20p per refill, compared to Lidl’s Formil single-use product.

Located on-shelf in the store’s laundry detergent section, the refill stations will increase store capacity by up to 300%, as they use the space of 66 single-use detergent bottles but can fill more than 245 individual pouches.

Chilean tech company Algramo’s smart technology will help Lidl record how many times each pouch is refilled and how much packaging has been saved through the trial.