Save a load: Lidl trials UK’s first supermarket ‘smart’ refill station to help customers cut plastic and costs

Lidl has announced the trial of the UK’s first supermarket ‘smart’ laundry detergent refill station, in partnership with Chilean sustainability start-up Algramo. Launching in Kingswinford, West Midlands, the six month pilot could save 2,970 single-use plastic containers from one store alone.

As of Thursday 28th April, shoppers at the Kingswinford store are able to purchase a dedicated, 100 per cent recyclable refill bottle filled with a choice of four Lidl own brand laundry detergents for the same price as a standard single-use bottle. After the refill bottle is purchased, any refills then come with a 20p saving – reducing customer spend as well as plastic, meaning customers will never pay more for a more sustainable choice.

The refill bottles have been specially designed with a UK-first smart chip, which allows the machine to register and recognise the bottle. Once the refill process is complete, shoppers can collect the ticket printed with the chosen product’s barcode and pay at the till with the weekly shop.

The innovative refill machines are fully automated – making the process simple and fast, also helping to avoid any awkward spills created by manual refill machines.

The refill machine will support four laundry detergents from Lidl’s Formil range:

· Formil Super Concentrated Bio, £1.69 (£1.49 for every refill)

· Formil Super Concentrated Non-Bio, £1.69 (£1.49 for every refill)

· Formil Super Concentrated Tropical Lily, £1.89 (£1.69 for every refill)

· Formil Super Concentrated Honey Petals, £1.89 (£1.69 for every refill)

The trial builds on Lidl’s commitment to combatting plastic waste, which has already seen the removal of 1 billion pieces of plastic from stores, as well as the commitment to reduce its use of plastic packaging by 40 per cent by 2025.

Mark Newbold, CSR Manager at Lidl GB said: “At Lidl, we believe you shouldn’t have to pay more for doing the right thing. It’s why we’re especially proud to be trialling this pioneering refill technology that not only helps customers reduce their plastic usage, but also their weekly shopping bill.”

Since 2013, Algramo has been dedicated to helping Chilean families buy life’s essentials in reusable packaging and is now an international benchmark for circular economy. With this partnership, Lidl becomes the first retailer to pilot Algramo’s circular platform in Europe, while also allowing its customers to pay, on average, 10 per cent less for the products.

This trial is just the first step of this partnership, with plans later in the year to trial alternative innovative designs to bring further improved customer experience and potential savings.

Chris Baker, Country Manager at Algramo UK said: “We are very happy to help Lidl customers make simple everyday actions more sustainable. During 2021, just in Chile, we managed to reuse more than 250,000 plastic bottles, that are still being used by consumers, keeping more than 30 tons of plastic in the economy and out of the environment.”

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