M&S is launching a trial of refillable own-brand cleaning and laundry products, as part of its commitment to reduce and remove plastic packaging, and offer customers more sustainable choices.
M&S Refillable allows customers to choose from eight pre-filled, own-brand homecare products, including cleaning sprays, laundry detergents, fabric conditioners and washing up liquids.
The offering, delivered in partnership with Re, will be available initially in M&S’ recently opened Stevenage store and in Bluewater, before being extended to an additional four stores over the summer (Stratford City, Hedge End, Aintree and York Vangarde Retail Park).
Customers will need to pay an initial £2 deposit for the reusable bottle, with a range of 500ml, 750ml and 1L sizes on offer, which can be returned to store after use. Upon return, customers will receive a £2 voucher which can be redeemed against a second purchase in the M&S Refillable range.
All returned bottles, made with durable materials to reduce damage and waste, will be cleaned and refilled before returning to store to be sold again. Cleaning spray and washing-up liquid bottles will also include a fully recyclable spray trigger or pump that can be recycled at home or returned to store.
Customers are already responding well to the trial, with the most popular product (citrus washing up liquid) almost equalling sales of its packaged equivalent. If successful, the range will be expanded and introduced to other stores.
M&S Refillable builds on the retailer’s existing efforts to help customers shop more sustainably. Launched in December 2019, M&S’ packaging-free Fill Your Own concept is estimated to have removed 350,000 units of single-use packaging.
Now available in fourteen stores, customers have a choice of over 60 refillable grocery products at better value per gram compared to packaged alternatives, with choices for the whole family, including pasta, rice, cereal and nuts.
Lucinda Langton, Head of Sustainability at M&S Food, said:
“At M&S, we want to help our customers live more sustainably by transforming how we sell our products. We know they care deeply about reducing plastic so we’re taking a test and learn approach to find innovative solutions. Our homecare trial builds on our refillable and packaging-free Fill Your Own concept, and both are important parts of our strategy to reduce plastic and packaging. Fill Your Own has already been hugely popular – showing there is high demand for refillable great value options – and if customers love M&S Refillable just as much, we’ll be rolling it out to more stores.”
Having sustainable choices is hugely important to customers. M&S’ latest Family Matters Index revealed the environment is the top concern for UK families, with 58% agreeing it’s important that retailers make it easier for consumers to make sustainable choices.
M&S has committed to remove 1bn units of plastic food packaging by 2027 and has already removed 75m units from across its food business in the past year. The retailer recently reset its Plan A sustainability roadmap, with a singular focus on becoming a fully net zero business across its products and supply chain by 2040.