RECOUP launches new Refill Packaging Case Studies on World Refill Day

In support of World Refill Day on 16th June, RECOUP, a charity focused on plastics resource efficiency and recycling, has released a new case study exploring the rise of refill products and their packaging.

While bulk refill purchases have traditionally been used for commercial purposes, the growing concern over the environmental impact of packaging has made refills a popular option for household shopping. Refillable packaging enables consumers to reuse the original product packaging by offering a refill solution often distributed in a different packaging format, resulting in a reduced environmental impact for both products and packaging. As a result, more and more brands and retailers are offering refill solutions to meet customer demand and achieve their sustainability goals.

The RECOUP Refill Packaging Case Studies found that refills are widely offered in the household and personal care markets, especially for products such as soap, shampoo, and cleaning liquids, however, refill solutions for food and drink products are currently scarcer on the UK market. It also details that numerous formats for the refill containers, such as pouches, bottles, tubes, sachets, jerry cans, and cartons, are available, with all forms having their benefits and potential disadvantages.

Materials used in packaging designed for reuse (both in terms of the refill packaging and the refillable packaging) and their suitability for reuse applications and recyclability are also investigated. The new study also considers the environmental message communicated to the consumer and whether this is clear and transparent around green claims and the refill and reuse system.

Richard Cham, Senior Packaging & Recyclability Projects Officer, comments: ‘‘Reuse is a step forward in reducing plastic waste, but it is important to remember that everything has a life expectancy, and reusable packaging is no different. At some stage, these packs will need to be disposed of and ensuring they are designed with end-of-life in mind is paramount.”

RECOUP concludes that while not always a circular solution, refills and refillable packaging are vital in normalising refills and increasing consumers’ involvement in reuse schemes.

The Refill Packaging Case Study is available to RECOUP members. CLICK HERE to download.

For more information about RECOUP, their work, and how to become a member,  please email, visit or call 01733 390021.

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