The Body Shop brings sustainable packaging effort to U.S.

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Body Shop refill bottle
The Body Shop refill bottle (CNW Group/Buth-Na-Bodhaige, Inc. d/b/a The Body Shop)

A global beauty brand is allowing customers at some U.S. stores to refill select products, instead of purchasing new containers.

In 2021, The Body Shop announced a five-year plan to roll out refill stations in the majority of its stores globally in an effort to reduce plastic use and become the most sustainable business possible. The in-store refill stations allow customers to refill body, hair and hand care products including shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, and hand washes.

The Body Shop is now introducing the refill program in stores across the United States, with the goal to have 49% of all U.S. locations equipped with refill stations by the end of 2022. The selection of available products will vary from six to twelve depending on store size.

By the end of 2022, The Body Shop will have refill stations present in about half of its store locations across the country, including Austin, Texas; Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, Fla.; and more.

Since April 2021, when The Body Shop announced the rollout of refill stations across 400 stores globally, the retailer says it has collectively has saved over 3.7 tons of plastic, which is equivalent to 170,000 plastic bottles. Another 400 refill stations are planned for 2022, with the aim of saving 25 tons of plastic and helping to prevent up to five pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

Leading grocer The Kroger Co. is undertaking a similar effort by offering a selection of products in reusable packaging, rather than in single-use plastic, in certain of its Fred Meyer banner locations. The grocery retailer is partnering with Loop, a circular reuse platform developed by TerraCycle, to provide an assortment of more than 20 products from leading consumer brands packaged in reusable containers at 25 Fred Meyer stores it owns in the Portland metro area.

Customers can purchase their Loop-ready products in refillable, reusable containers found in branded displays at the participating Fred Meyer stores. After a customer uses the products, they can return the empty packaging to the Loop collection bin located at each participating store.

Loop will then pick up the empty containers to be cleaned, refilled, and made available for purchase by a new customer. Customers will be charged a small packaging deposit upon purchase, and a full refund is given once the package is returned.

“The foundation of The Body Shop's environmental activism was born out of ideas like these, when our founder, Dame Anita Roddick, refilled her first bottle out of necessity in 1976," said Hilary Lloyd, VP of marketing and values, North America. "Our customers have been eagerly awaiting for refills to return to The Body Shop. We're thrilled to be embracing a circular economy approach and provide this sustainable alternative."

To learn more about The Body Shop's Refill Program and participating locations, click here.