Convenience stores lead demand for refillable stations

Convenience stores have helped fuel “considerable growth” in the demand for refillable stations, according to Martek Zero Waste (MZW)

The stations are the latest service offered by stores that want to improve their sustainability. They can be filled with products such as oats, pasta or washing-up liquid, enabling customers to dispense the items into containers they have brought into stores. 

Cameron Galloway, director of refillable station manufacturer MZW, told Better Retailing the refill stations were quickly gaining acceptance within the convenience sector. “As a system, refillable stations have been around for a while. What has driven it recently is that people are seeing it work on a much larger scale,” he said. “The stations have previously only been used by specialist stores, but larger retailers are now introducing them.“

B Corp launch UK’s first sustainability retail pop-up store in London

When a large supermarket runs with something, you tend to see a chain reaction. We’re working with a large number of retailers and they’re growing in convenience.” Morrisons and Asda are among the first major supermarkets to trial refillable stations, and independent retail chains, such as Spar’s Eat17 and Thornton’s Budgens, have offered refillable stations. 

MZW, which has installed stations in 2,000 stores overall, has also struck a partnership with Central England Co-op that will see refillable stations introduced into the chain’s stores. 

Galloway said the most popular lines stocked by refillable stations include pulses, pasta, nuts, beans, honey, shampoo, detergent, cereals, washing-up liquids, sugar and flour. 

Morrisons in ‘Weigh to Go’ refill scheme

Explaining previous barriers to the adoption of refillable stations, Galloway added: “A lot of times these systems have been trialled and have fallen by the wayside because the correct processes weren’t trialled and they weren’t seen as very profitable. “There wasn’t much choice before. Now, we’re seeing large producers offer different options to retailers, which has helped with adoption.” 

Galloway added increased public awareness of sustainability will only increase demand for refillable stations. “It was really gathering momentum a couple of years ago, but Covid threw it all on its head,” he said. “This year, there’s been an emphasis on gaining lost ground and a lot of the public will be conscious about reducing single use plastics. The past 12 months have seen a faster increase in demand.”

Read more news and advice on sustainable retail


This article doesn't have any comments yet, be the first!

Become a member to have your say