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Launching The Refillution®

Every year, millions of tons of plastic are thrown away. The Ecover® brand is starting a movement to change that.

In March of 2022, the Ecover® brand spotlighted the importance of refilling plastic packaging with an innovative pop-up in London. The brand turned an unused petrol station into a dedicated refill space for cleaning products instead of cars.

Visitors to the space could use the Ecover® refill stations to top up their Ecover® Laundry Liquid and Ecover® Washing-up Liquid, while learning more about the fight against plastic waste.

For over 40 years, the Ecover® brand has been working to create positive change, advocating for product refills, increasing its use of recycled plastic and encouraging recycling of its bottles. But in recent years, Ecover has been working to increase consumer access to refill options as it's become clear that re-use must work hand-in-hand with recycling to tackle the plastic waste crisis.

Today, the brand offers over 700 refill points across the U.K. But to go even further, it's working to bring attention to the importance of refilling and break the cycle of what it calls "wasteful convenience" with single-use bottles.

That's why they've launched The Refillution®, a movement that aims to bring consumers, shopkeepers, retailers, the supply chain and others together to unlock the potential of refilling to help make re-using bottles mainstream.


Rewarding Refillers
As part of The Refillution® program, the Ecover® brand is also providing incentives to encourage refilling. Users can refill their bottle and fill up on rewards.

At Home

  1. Order your refill online
  2. Upload your receipt
  3. Confirm product details
  4. Earn money

In-Store

  1. Refill your Ecover® bottle
  2. Scan the QR code in store
  3. Take a photo of your bottle
  4. Confirm product details
  5. Earn money

The Refill Report, commissioned by the brand, explores barriers to refilling to determine what brand and retailers can do to increase refilling. As the report notes, "For years we've been working with the latest recycling technologies, but our real passion lies in giving plastic value again and putting it to work. After all, why should we melt a bottle to form a new bottle if we already have a bottle.

By the end of 2022, the Ecover® brand aims to help people refill their bottles over three million times in the U.K. That would be the equivalent of one refill every 10 seconds.

 

Research by the Ecover® brand in the U.K. found that:

  • The average household throws away 7 plastic bottles a week 
  • 52% feel guilty about the number of single-use plastic bottles they use
  • More refill stations in mainstream supermarkets would make 62% more likely to reuse

 

Creating a Paradigm Shift

In The Refill Report, the Ecover® brand highlights three major challenges in how people conceive of packaging and the changes that need to be made:

  1. Packaging is worthless -- What if we could see packaging as a valuable resource rather than something to be thrown away?

  2. Recycling is the only answer -- What if we could put as much energy into reducing and reusing as we do recycling today?

  3. Convenience is everything -- What if we could see refilling not as an inconvenience but as a valuable and rewarding activity?

Read The Refill Report for a detailed explanation of the ten strategies Ecover® aims to inspire brands and retailers to employ to address these challenges, including making packaging containers more desirable, minimizing confusion and risk of user error, and meeting shoppers where they are in mainstream retailers. 

The Refill Report was prepared by the Ecover® brand in partnership with Basis Research. Basis conducted a series of interviews and other research activities with sustainability experts and consumers in 2021.