Here's how and where you can join the 'Refillable Revolution'
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Tesco, Britain’s largest supermarket chain, has launched a trial allowing customers to buy food, beverages, household and beauty products in reusable packaging as part of a strategy to cut plastic waste.
Like many other Europeans, the past few years have seen Britons becoming increasingly aware of the amount of plastic they buy, with many younger people leading the charge in demanding changes in how supermarkets sell products.
The Minderoo Foundation’s Plastic Waste Makers Index report, reported in a May 2021 piece in the Guardian, pointed out the United Kingdom was the fourth largest producer of plastic waste per capita globally.
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Greenpeace UK said: “The UK needs to drastically cut the amount of plastic produced in the first place. Reducing single-use plastic by 50% would not only allow the UK to end waste exports but would also mean less plastic going into incineration and landfill. The government must mandate a 50% reduction in single-use plastic by 2025 and supermarkets and major brands must deliver it.”
In a recent Reuters article, it was reported: “Through a partnership with Loop, the global reusable packaging platform, customers in 10 Tesco stores in eastern England will be able to buy products in reusable packaging that can be returned to stores when finished so it can be cleaned, refilled and used again.”
A range of 88 products will be offered, including brands such as Unilever’s Persil laundry detergent and Radox shower gel, PZ Cussons’ Carex handwash, Fevertree drinks, Heinz ketchup, Coca Cola, Tetley Tea and Brewdog beer, as well as 35 Tesco own-brand essentials, such as pasta, rice, sugar and oil.
Tesco, which launched its trial earlier this month (September) says it will add more products to its scheme throughout the year and the trial will be scaled up if successful.
“We are determined to tackle plastic waste and one of the ways we can help is by improving reuse options available to customers,” says Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy.
The chain says prices of refillable items will still be similar to the original, with a fully refundable deposit of 50 pence (around R10) paid on each reusable product at the checkout. This deposit is refunded via a mobile app when the customer returns the packaging to a collection point in a store.
Several supermarket chains in South Africa have been offering this service for a while.
Food Lovers Market, for example, offers a refill option with their range of nuts, seeds, sweets and cereals. You may not be able to bring your own plastic containers but you can use reusable zip-lock bags. Sometimes, they’re even cheaper than the pre-packaged stuff.
Some non-chain stores in South Africa offer a more diverse range of refill products such as detergents, handwashes, bath soaps, feminine hygiene products along with the usual dry foods like lentils, seeds and cereals.
These stores offer zero-waste alternatives to packaged goods. Some items may cost a few extra rands and some may be cheaper than the usual packaged items but at the end of the day, the stores feel we really can’t put a price on conserving our natural environment.
To make it a bit easier, with a little help from local blogger, Life Lived Simply, I have found a list of zero-waste, no packaging, refill stores in KZN, Gauteng, Cape Town and one in Port Elizabeth.
The concept is simple: bring your own containers or bags or you can purchase glass jars at the stores before you start shopping. Weigh the containers beforehand, zero the weight then fill up with the items you’re buying and weigh again to get the price.
* The Refill Den, Suite 102, 68 Adelaide Tambo Drive, Durban
* Azikho, Unit G1, Salt Rock Shopping Centre
* Salt Rock Good Source SA, 42 Old Main Road, Hillcrest
* Low Impact Living, 12 Glen Road, Simon’s Town, Cape Town
* Nude Foods, 5 Constitution Street, Zonnebloem, Cape Town
* Nude Foods, Shop 2, Paul House, Wilkinson Street, Newlands Shop Zero SA, 403 Albert Road, Woodstock
* Zero Waste Store, Earth Fair Market, Tokai (every 2nd Saturday)
* Daily Goods Store, 29 Palmer Rd, Muizenberg
* Aum Health Hub, Corner of 6th Avenue and Mostert, Unit 4 Gerfa Centre, Melkbosstrand
* The Refillery, Cedar Square Shopping Centre, Corner of Willow and Cedar Road, Shop U3.11
* The Refillery, Morningside Shopping Centre, Shop U17, Corner Rivonia Road Outspan Road
* The Refillery, Woodlands Boulevard Shopping Centre, Corner Garsfontein Rd and De Villiers Drive, Pretorius Park
* The Refillery, Hyde Park Shopping Centre, corner of William Nicol and Jan Smuts Drives
* The Refillery, Linden | Denmyr Court, 65 7th Street, Linden
* The Unwrapped Co, Blairgowrie, Randburg
* Waste-Not Groceries, 21 Bain Street, Richmond Hill, PE