UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has teamed up with environmental group City to Sea, household brand Ecover, and startup Reposit to help improve the circular economy in supermarkets.

The partners aim to demonstrate a commercially and environmentally scalable packaging solution that they hope will expedite the transition from single-use methodologies to reuse systems in supermarkets.  

According to City to Sea, the solution consists of a ‘buy anywhere, return anywhere’ reusable packaging platform that is compatible with products across a range of retailers, categories, and brands.

With this platform, participating customers will be able to purchase consumer goods such as cleaning and beauty products in returnable packaging in exchange for an initial deposit.

Empty reusable packaging can be returned to a registered drop-off point, which will then be collected, washed, refilled, and returned to supermarkets for use thereafter.

Earlier this year, the solution was successfully trialled in six M&S stores across ten home-care products.

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The partners will roll out the scheme to 200 stores across up to 100 products in the UK in the next six months.

City to Sea development head Jane Martin said: “This is a game-changing moment in our collective battle against plastic pollution from packaging. Today we’re launching with our friends at Reposit, M&S, and Ecover a ‘buy anywhere, return anywhere’ reuse system across brands and retailers.

“This means that customers will be able to easily and accessibly pick up their favourite products in packaging that has already been refilled safe in the knowledge that it will be used again and again!”

The collaboration is being backed by UK Research & Innovation’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Fund.