Hi, My name is Dr Rhoda Trimingham and I am the Managing Director of The Refillable Packaging Company Ltd. I am also an academic at a University and have a Ph.D. in Sustainable Design Decision-making (you can follow my academic career using the twitter link above).
For the last 10 years I have been researching refillable packaging. From this understanding I developed a set of rules shown below. They are split into two sections; sustainability and user experience.
- Reduce, Refill, Recycle – In that order!
- Products must considerably reduce the amount of material and Co2 emissions over their lifecycle compared to current household products.
- Products must contribute to a circular economy through refilling.
- Where possible the packaging and the refills must be separate, so that consumers are not tied to brands and therefore refilling is more likely.
- Where possible the refill process should utilise concentrates, to reduce heavy primary packaging and therefore further reduce CO2 emissions (heavier products use more fuel).
- Packaging must withstand the rigours of multiple uses.
- Products should, where possible, use material that has no reduction in quality during the recycling process and can reduce energy required during production compared to virgin materials.
- End of life (waste) management must be optimised.
- User experience and product quality must promote high trip rates (no. of refills)
- The user must retain ownership of the refillable 'parent package' and the refill process should be done in the home, this is to reduce the ‘hassle factor’ of refills.
- Refills should be comparable or cheaper in price than non-refillable alternatives.
- Products should offer additional value over non-refillable alternatives (ease of storage, bulk buy, hassle free washing etc)
- The refill process must be easy and understandable.
I have used these rules to select a range of products for this shop. At the moment there are only a small number of products on offer - I am hoping over time more will become available (I have plans!). My overall aim is to demonstrate that refillable packaging can be successful when delivered properly, and to get refillable packaging onto every supermarket shelf in the country- even if that does mean I go out of business!
Here at the Refillable Packaging Company we don’t believe in protecting the secondary packaging – just the product – so if your product already comes in a box, we will simply wrap it in brown paper and stick an address label on it. This means that packaging may have the odd dent or dink when it arrives, but if the product inside is still perfect we believe it’s done its job!
We also believe in being ‘sustainably slow’ when it comes to delivery, so you will not find any next day delivery options here. Delivery will take from 3-5 days and will be posted second class. This way we can keep your delivery costs low, and ensure our [electric] vehicles are full when we deliver goods for posting. All our parcels are delivered by Royal Mail using recycled and recyclable postal packaging.