Can A Clean House Mean A Clean Conscience?
Ever thought that instead of pick and mixing sweets, shoppers might like to pick and mix household cleaning products? No? Perhaps not surprising.
With the introduction of new refill stations, shoppers now have the opportunity to pick and mix cleaning products to reduce plastic packaging.
Will the sweet taste of sustainable, zero waste shopping be enough to persuade shoppers to adopt in store refills for a lower involvement category like cleaning?
Recent research from M&S Food found that more than 75% of consumers are actively aiming to reduce the products they buy with plastic packaging. As consumers are more concerned than ever about making sustainable choices, product packaging needs to adapt accordingly. A lot of focus has been placed on food packaging; however, household cleaning supplies are a big contributor when it comes to the single-use plastic in homes.
Despite concerns and awareness of plastic waste drastically increasing over the past few years, its tough to turn the tide. 2019 research from Greenpeace has revealed that in 7 out of 10 of the major UK supermarkets the amount of plastic they are putting on their shelves has increased.
Introducing The Refill Station
The general proposition for refill stations is that shoppers can bring their empty containers, e.g. their empty washing-up liquid bottle, and refill them. This means that shoppers don’t have to buy a new product with more plastic packaging every time they run out, encouraging shoppers to reduce and reuse.
These refill stations aim to reduce the negative impact that plastic packaging has. If successful they will reduce the carbon emissions created by the production of plastic packaging, and they will reduce the amount of plastic that finds its way into the seas.
So, Who’s Getting Involved?
Along with many independent shops popping up in high streets across the UK, these are a couple of major supermarkets where shoppers can refill their cleaning supplies:
Sainsbury’s teamed up with Ecover, an ethical household cleaning product brand, in February 2020. Consumers can now refill their Ecover laundry detergent and washing up liquid from the refill station in the Harringay, London store. They believe that this initiative will have the ability to reduce plastic by one million tonnes per year, and if successful aim to expand the initiative across 19 different UK stores.
Asda – Launched their first sustainable store in Middleton, Leeds in October 2020. This store boasts a variety of different refill stations but in terms of household cleaning, products include names such as Persil, Simple and Radox. The store is in a 3-month trial period but if successful they hope to continue the initiative into 2021.
A Clean House AND a Clean Conscience? Ideal, right?
Well, this retail innovation might not be as squeaky clean as it appears. Already consumers have aired concerns over refill stations. The main one is issues with remembering to bring their empty container to the shop. And another one being the possibility of having to form yet another queue in store before even getting to the tills.
Despite these minor blemishes the statistics of refill stations are looking promising. Research from GlobalData found that 44% of 16 to 24 years olds had used a refill station in 2019. Furthermore, according to data from The Grocer, in 2019 75% of shoppers wanted to use refill stations.
So, stated intent from shoppers appears to be there – but time will tell if actual behaviour and adoption will follow en masse.
Cleanliness has always been next to godliness, but now it could be next to refillable-ness too…
If you’d like to continue the conversation on refill stations and opportunities for your household cleaning supplies brands, email us at [email protected] or [email protected]. Alternatively, find our company contact details via the contact us section of our website.