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The Body Shop launches new global refill stations

Already a pioneer of environmental activism within the personal care industry, The Body Shop is now rolling out in-store refill services to 400 locations worldwide.

According to awareness campaign Zero Waste Week, over 120 billion units of packaging is produced by the cosmetics industry every year, most of which sadly isn’t recyclable.

More beauty companies are starting to think about how they can create and package their products in more ethically responsible ways, especially as Gen Z buyers begin to demand transparency and greater efforts to be mindful of waste and greenhouse emissions.

One such method is via refills, whereby consumers re-use packaging indefinitely to purchase a liquid or bottled product over and over again, rather than buying a single-use container every time they want a specific product. A popular brand that encourages consumers to do this, for example, is Starbucks – purchasing a ‘cup for life’ can offer numerous rewards and benefits, rather than using and wasting coffee containers unnecessarily.

Leading the charge in the beauty industry, The Body Shop is tapping into this growing consumer concern about the impact of single-use plastics by rolling out new, in-store refill services to 400 locations worldwide.

Launching tomorrow, these new stations seek to inspire people across the globe to change the way they use these products and introduce refills to the mainstream by making them easy, convenient, and accessible to everyone.

‘We want eco-activists to join our revolution and make it part of their new, more sustainable beauty lifestyle,’ the company said in a press statement. ‘Why waste a container when you can refill it?’

Though The Body Shop’s refill initiative isn’t new – shoppers can currently refill up to 12 of its shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, and soaps with reusable aluminium bottles – this international debut is the first of its kind. To date, the service has only been available in the UK.

The brand, owned by Brazilian personal care conglomerate Natura&Co says that making the switch could save up to 25 tonnes of plastic from being wasted every year. Impressive stuff.

‘We are proud to be the first cosmetics brand to deploy this solution so broadly, both in terms of number of stores and references,’ continues the statement. ‘Since we are B-Corp-certified, we feel responsible for what we market, so all our products are recyclable.’

Most of the materials in its shops are upcycled, including till points rescued from landfill and stools made using reclaimed steel and recycled wood. The Body Shop has received a great deal of praise for its activism in the beauty sector,  leading campaigns against animal testing to providing relief for refugee children alongside its innovative use of sustainable materials.

It seems for many stores refill is the way forward to drastically reduce carbon footprints and make an impact without it being too much hassle logistically. Soon we may all even be picking up our groceries via refill stations – it will have to become the norm if we’re ever to ditch single-use packaging for good.


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