P&G launches refillable shampoo bottles in the UK

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has launched a refill format that uses 60% less plastic across several of its most popular shampoo brands in the UK.

Image: P&G

Image: P&G

The FMCG giant first unveiled images of the new format last October and confirmed plans to launch across several of its largest European markets in early 2021.

The format consists of a reusable aluminium bottle and refill pouches, which consist of a flexible plastic packet and a rigid plastic neck. P&G claims that the pouches can be recycled through kerbside collections in the UK and that the refill pouches use 60% less plastic per millilitre of product than traditional shampoo bottles, as they are lighter.

P&G is using the format to house selected Aussie, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences and Pantene lines in the UK. Aluminium bottles and refill pouches for all four brands have launched at Boots stores and on the Boots site this week, with roll-outs also underway at Waitrose & Partners and Superdrug. Bottles have an RRP of £9.99 and the RRP for pouches starts at £4.

Launches in all European markets in which P&G operates are due by the end of 2021. P&G’s beauty arm is notably aiming to halve the amount of virgin plastic used in shampoo and conditioner packaging this year.

P&G’s chief sustainability officer Virginie Helias, when the packaging format was first unveiled, said it formed part of the company’s mission to “make sustainability irresistible”, driving consumer behaviour change as well as progress towards its own sustainability targets.

This mission has repeatedly been stated, including in recent #SustyTalk interviews with edie from the firm’s global climate and supply chain director James McCall and global head of sustainable innovation Frantz Beznik.

A recent survey of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by P&G, found that three-quarters want their bathroom routine to be more sustainable, but that many believe that reducing plastic would require extra effort or costs. 46% said they would like to be shown simple changes to their existing routine.

Refill update

Several of P&G’s brands are already listed on Loop – TerraCycle’s multi-brand refill platform which is currently operating in the US, France and the UK. Loop sees customers pay a deposit fee on each piece of packaging that is refunded to them when TerraCycle’s courier partners collect the empty containers.

While this direct-to-consumer model has proven popular with brands, investors and shoppers alike, many other brands are opting for in-store refill models. The Body Shop, for example, has a refill station for shower gels at its Bond Street Store, while Waitrose & Partners’ ‘Unpacked’ stores stock packaging-free washing-up liquid, laundry detergent and beer.

Waitrose & Partners announced in January that its ‘Unpacked’ offering will be rolled out to extra stores following good consumer engagement in trials. It will also explore whether refillable versions of products sell better when they are located alongside pre-packaged versions of the same products, instead of in a dedicated aisle.


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Sarah George



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