The UK Refill Coalition has commenced the first in-store trial of its refill solution at discount supermarket chain Aldi’s store in Solihull, England, UK.

The coalition was formed by GoUnpackaged in 2020 in collaboration with CHEP, Ocado Retail, and Aldi UK. 

From 23 October, Aldi’s Solihull branch will have a reusable bulk vessel installed to provide large-scale refills for different food staples, including cereals and pasta, as well as household products such as cleaning and personal care products.

Customers visiting the Solihull store can bring their own containers to refill their required items. 

In a joint statement, the UK Refill Coalition said: “As a coalition we share the mutual objective of reducing single-use plastic packaging and believe that the solution we have developed presents a landmark opportunity for us to make a step change in the commercialisation of refills which we know can play a significant role in the reduction of single-use plastic packaging.”

The refill solution will further help participating retailers save on their packaging costs, thereby allowing them to sell their products at a cheaper price.  

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The vessel being used for this packaging initiative has been manufactured by Berry Global, one of the manufacturing partners of the coalition.

Berry said that this 14-litre reusable vessel is made using high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Berry project coordinator Edward Arnold said: “We have been able to select a polymer that has robustness for multiple reuses, while providing a lightweight solution for easy handling and to minimise carbon impact of transportation.”

The coalition’s retailers are planning to launch such refill stations at their respective physical and online stores based on the success of the initial trial.

A tareless weighing system, which allows consumers to refill without weighing their containers first, and a liquids dispenser, are currently under development and are expected to launch next year.

Additionally, Ocado is set to launch a bulk home delivery refill solution by early 2024.