22 April 2016

Refill dissapointment

I was looking for a refill of detergents. And organic food without bags.
It really is a shame that neither of the big supermarket brands offers their organic fruit in recyclable bags.
No really. They mostly come in plastic that's not recycled.

I understand that they have to make sure people do not mix organic and non-organic at the till, especially with those self-service tills so common now, but surely there is a way of doing it in a more green manner?

Waitrose seems to be the only one who on their website even cares to show this information:
 in full

Sainsburys do a partial job:

Plastic - LDPE bag
Plastic - LDPE label -glued
Other plastic tape

I couldn't find this information on Tesco's site.

Asda is slightly better than Sainsbury's in terms of telling if it is recyclable but not what it is made of really:

Recycling Info
Plastic - Not Currently Recycled: Bag.

Exactly the same is done by Morrisons:

Recycling Information
Film - Plastic - Not Currently Recycled

Aldi isn't strong on organic products anyway. Nor is it on their description:

Same for Lidl and Co-op.

Where can I get refills then?

This really saddening article written in 2011 has shown that Asda tried introducing refilling of the detergents, but resigned. That was 5 years ago, and nothing has changed.

I've found these SESI operating in Oxford (a bit of a trip for me), but their wider audience aimed online store is now defunct.

Unpackaged is another supplier I've found and apparently they work with Planet Organic, but they are sadly only selling in one store plus PO is a tad too expensive for me to do my daily shopping there, not to mention I can't really take all my containers (even weekly) and commute to London to refill. Why not? Because petrol I'd use is another waste not worth the hassle, and we all know or can imagine how cool it is to drag twenty pounds of groceries on your back, like some sort of poor donkey, only without the option of hauling them hands-free. Nope. That's not going to happen, my legs would kill me. BTW, Unpackaged tried opening their own shop and closed after only 12 months. People in the UK are not yet there as it seems.

I've just got back from Wholefoods shopping. It's an American market, who is at the forefront of sustainable food sales (or at least they sell themselves as such), and managed to get some of my groceries package free, without any hassle. The woman at the till didn't suggest plastic bags (they ask if you want paper ones and give you a 5p discount if you come with yours). Some items are cheaper with them than in other supermarkets bust majority is more expensive. Sometimes not much, but still.
Also, they only have stores in London, Cheltenham and Glasgow. Not very useful to me.

I've mentioned that Ecover and you are supposed to be filling. But the closest place to my house in a 30 minutes drive. Still I'll give it a go.
another brand I've mentioned is You. They will sell refills which come in very small recyclable packaging. Not ideal, but at least it gets recycled, and refilled several times. The size of the refill tab means more can be transported at a time. This is how it looks (Youtube).

At the moment, bulk buying seems the only alternative. Sad.

image from: PublicDomainPictures.net


  1. Veg schemes may be an option - i tried few - they come in loads of packaging, but most of it is cardboard at least. Shopping at farmers markets or directly is another option. Although neither of the above is as convenient as good old evil Tesco...

    1. You're right. I am buying veggies and fruit that way already, but when I tried getting meats from them as well they came foiled and on plastic trays. Not making me very happy to use them.