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Lidl Steps, Big Changes: UK’s First Supermarket ‘Smart’ Refill Station

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Lidl Steps, Big Changes: UK’s First Supermarket ‘Smart’ Refill Station

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We all know that small sustainable changes make a big impact.

Learn how Lidl is making this step easier with smart refills.

Romally Coverdale

Fri 29 Apr 2022

Lidl has announced the trial of their ‘smart’ refill station, in partnership with Chilean sustainability start-up Algramo.

Currently trialling in Kingswinford, West Midlands, Lidl has introduced a smart refill station for laundry detergent.

How does it work?

Shoppers at the Kingswinford store can purchase a 100% recyclable bottle filled with Lidl’s own brand laundry detergent.

Lidl has consciously priced this detergent as the same retail value as detergent that comes in single-use bottles, so as to make the sustainable swap affordable.

Once the customer runs out of detergent simply return to the store with the bottle and head over to the refill station, and choose one of four detergents.

hand removing reusable packaging from refill station
“Lidl estimates that the refill station will save nearly 3,000 single-use plastic containers”

These are no ordinary laundry bottles. The bottles have been designed with a UK-first smart chip, allowing the fully automated refill machine to recognise the bottle.

This means the process of refilling is easy, the machine doing all the work - and the refill even saves customers 20p for every refill!

Once the refill is complete, shoppers collect a printed ticket that includes the barcode to be scanned at the till.

close up of buttons being press on refill station

What’s the impact?

During this six month trial, Lidl estimates that the refill station will save nearly 3,000 single-use plastic containers.

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.”

refill station, with focus on sign saying 20p off refills
“This pioneering refill technology helps customers reduce plastic usage and save money”

In 2021 Algramo, just in Chile, managed to reuse more than 250,000 plastic bottles, keeping more than 30 tonnes of plastic in the economy.

Lidl has become the first retailer to pilot Algramo’s circular platform in Europe, and hopefully marks the beginning of other retailers embracing a circular economy.

How does this shape the future?

For the UK to meet its climate commitments to get to Net Zero, circular economies like this need to be adopted.

person pressing buttons on screen of refill station

The trialled partnership between Lidl and Algramo is one of the first, with plans later in the year to pioneer other innovative designs that encourage sustainable shopping and a greater customer experience.

Lidl currently has 920 stores across Britain alone; hopefully, if this trial boasts success, the smart refill station will help clean our environment as well as our laundry.

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