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Refillable Packaging Systems - WR0113

Description
The overall objective of this applied research project is to develop refillable packaging systems within a product service system context, which aims to fulfil customer needs whilst attaining greater eco-efficiencies (Mont, 2002), and investigate their feasibility within the personal care market. If successful, these new refills systems will have the potential to reduce household waste in line with DEFRA’s research interests outlined in programme area 1.3(ii). In addition to this, there is the possibility that innovations in refillable packaging based on enhanced customer convenience could facilitate pro-environmental behaviour which would also contribute to programme areas 5.1 and 5.3. The outcomes from this project will provide new understanding regarding the appropriateness of using refills as an approach to reducing packaging waste, as well as illustrating how well these new types of delivery systems are received by the customer.

Between 1996/7 and 2002/3 municipal waste increased by 19% to 29.3 million tonnes (DEFRA, 2004) and total packaging waste in the UK rose to over 10 million tonnes in 2003 (Environmental Services Association, 2004). Approaches to dramatically reduce the amount of packaging waste going to landfill need to be identified. The use of refillable packaging has long been cited as a possible solution to this problem. However in the past attempts to extend the use of refillables beyond a few traditional areas have met with little success. In May 2003 no major retailers operated any schemes in the reuse of primary packaging (Darlow, 2003). Darlow identified that “opinion amongst those in the retail supply chain is that reuse on a large scale would not work in this country due to: Health & Safety and Hygiene Regulations; the logistical complexities of a multidirectional supply chain; price of new packaging; and customer behaviour” (p13) (2003).

It is believed that recent advances in technology, particularly new forms of retailing such as internet shopping and the development of product service systems may provide the opportunity to re-evaluate the role of refillable packaging systems. This innovative project will address these issues and consider different ways of delivering refills in a product service systems context, to encourage the purchasing of refills whilst enhancing customer convenience and reducing packaging waste. If successful it is believed that refillable packaging will help to dramatically reduce household waste, which is in line with DEFRA’s research interests under programme area 1.3(ii). In addition to this, there is the possibility that innovations in refillable packaging based on enhanced customer convenience could facilitate pro-environmental behaviour, in this case the project would also contribute to programme areas 5.1 and 5.3.
Objective
The overall objective of this applied research project is to develop refillable packaging systems using a product service system approach and investigate their feasibility within the personal care market.

1. To investigate current consumer perceptions of refills and refillable packaging.

2. To identify organisational, cultural and other barriers to the adoption of refillable packaging.

3. To identify opportunities for refillable packaging within the personal care market.

4. To demonstrate the feasibility of refillable packaging by developing a range of product service concepts for one product in the personal care market.

5. To gauge feasibility by testing at least one concept with consumers and Boots.

6. To identify generic lessons for the use of refillable packaging in industry.
Project Documents
• Final Report : WR0113 "Refillable Packaging Systems" - Final Report   (782k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0113 "Refillable Packaging Systems" - Annex 1: Categorisation of refills   (150k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0113 "Refillable Packaging Systems" - Annex 2: An investigation into consumer perceptions of refills and refillable packaging   (755k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0113 "Refillable Packaging Systems" - Annex 3: An investigation into the drivers and barriers relating to the adoption of refillable packaging   (588k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0113 "Refillable Packaging Systems" - Annex 4: Refillable packaging systems - key methods and processes   (1476k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0113 "Refillable Packaging Systems" - Annex 5: Refillable packaging systems - lessons for industry   (743k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2006

To: 2009

Cost: £141,520
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Loughborough
Keywords
Advances in product design & development              
Analysis              
Behaviour change              
Consumer Survey              
Effective household waste prevention              
Encourage change in resource use/waste generation              
Environmental Protection              
Manufacturing Efficiency              
Market Development and Intervention              
Market Transformation              
Marketing              
Packaging              
Producer Responsibility              
Products and Processes              
Recycling              
Social Research              
Sustainable Consumption and Production              
Sustainable Production              
Sustainable Resource Consumption and Management              
Techniques & methodolgies for waste management              
Uncover market opportunities outside WRAP's remit              
Understand/enhance pro-environmental behaviour              
Understanding resource flows              
Waste Management              
Fields of Study
Waste Management