M&S backs ‘ground-breaking’ refill partnership to tackle single-use packaging

M&S is calling for other retailers and brands to join a “ground-breaking” multi-retailer refill scheme as it backs a partnership to tackle single-use packaging across the retail sector.

The high street retailer has joined forces with City to Sea, Ecover and Reposit as part of a new partnership which will allow consumers to access a ‘buy anywhere, return anywhere’, full reuse platform across a wide range of brands, categories and retailers.

Accelerating the transition from single-use bottles to a circular refill economy, the partnership will test prefilled products in returnable packaging on a commercial scale, leasing reusable containers that the consumer can either return to stores or send back via a free home collection service.

The partnership follows M&S’ successful trial where it introduced refillable own-brand cleaning and laundry products into six of its stores in a move to reduce plastic packaging.

Now being opened up and made available to other retailers and brands, the project aims to implement a commercially, operationally and environmentally scalable reuse platform, with the ambition to roll out to up to 100 products and 200 stores across the UK.

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M&S head of sustainability Lucinda Langton said the store’s customers are “always pushing” for the retailer to lead on issues they care about, including single-use plastic.

“The M&S Refilled pilot has had a strong presence from customers since launch,” she said.

“We’re excited to join this UKRI-backed partnership to expand this reuse option further.”

City to Sea head of development Jane Martin described the move as a “game-changing moment in our collective battle against plastic pollution from packaging”.

“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,” she added.

Reposit founder and director Stuart Chidley is urging brands and retailers to “get involved now” and “collectively make the progress that consumers and the planet demand”.

The consortium is calling for brands and retailers interested in being part of the project to register their interest by October 30 2023 with a planned launch date of June 2024.

Circular economyNewsRetail

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