Marks & Spencer launches refill pilot for homecare own brands

Image source: Marks and Spencer

Marks & Spencer launches refill pilot for homecare own brands

Thomas Reiner | 22.07.2022

UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) is launching a trial of refillable laundry and cleaning products for its own brands in selected stores. Shoppers will pay a £2 deposit on their first purchase, which will be added to the purchase price on the next refill. According to M&S, the pilot is going more than promisingly. It has been apparent for some time that the future belongs to refill, deposit and returnable systems, at least in Europe.



M&S is launching its pilot in recently opened stores in Stevenage and Bluewater. Four more stores will follow during the summer. The project centers on eight pre-filled household care products from M&S’s own brands. These include cleaning sprays, detergents, fabric softeners and dishwashing liquids in 500 ml, 750 ml and 1 liter volumes.


The M&S refill concept

  • Customers pay a £2 deposit when they first buy the products filled in refillable bottles.
  • After emptying, they can return the bottles to participating stores and receive a credit voucher of the same value. This can be redeemed on the next purchase from the M&S refill range.
  • According to the company, the returned bottles are cleaned and refilled before they then end up on the shelves again for sale.
  • Cleaning sprays and dishwashing liquid bottles contain a fully recyclable spray solvent or pump. They can be recycled at home or returned to M&S stores.
  • According to M&S, the pilot has gotten off to a very successful start. The most popular product, a citrus dishwashing detergent, is now selling as well in the new reusable / refillable packaging as in the traditional disposable version, it said.


Partnership with Re

M&S has chosen startup Re as a partner for its pilot project. Founded by Jo-Anna Chidley, the company recently received funding from the British innovation agency Innovate UK as part of the “Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge.” Under the claim “RETURN – REFILL – REPEAT,” Re aims to promote the reuse of bottles and offers corresponding services.


The future calls and offers opportunities!

Refill, deposit and returnable systems are on the rise. In our opinion, these systems will be used across the board in Europe in the future. They pay off in different ways in terms of climate, circularity and sustainability goals, and meet with a high level of acceptance among consumers.

Two things are clear. First, we will see more concepts of this kind. And second, there are tremendous opportunities for companies in the packaging industry here as well. Need and demand are foreseeable. Those who are smart are already positioning themselves accordingly.

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