Abel & Cole trials refillables service

Veg box retailer Abel & Cole has launched a refillables trial that will see single-use packaging removed from a selection of pantry items and delivered instead in returnable, reusable pots.

The company said the service, named Club Zero, is the first to be offered by an online food retailer as part of people’s regular weekly shop.

Club Zero members will be able to order staple pantry items like lentils, porridge oats and cashews in fully reusable, returnable pots, which will then be collected the following week to be reused again.

Members will pay an annual fee of £10 to cover the cost of preparing the refills, getting them to customers and supporting the club as it expands. Customers will get their 10th refill of a particular product free, which the company says will more than cover the membership fee.

The scheme has been developed in collaboration with consultancy and zero-waste brand, Unpackaged, which has concessions in a number of Planet Organic stores.

Abel & Cole, which delivers its fruit and veg in reusable cardboard boxes, claims it already reduces single-use packaging waste by 88% versus an average supermarket shop.

"People have become increasingly aware of climate change and we have witnessed a huge growth in the appetite for sustainable products and ways to shop,” said Abel & Cole MD, Hannah Shipton. “I hope Club Zero helps anyone looking to cut down on single-use packaging, particularly those without the ability to get to a zero waste refill shop or those not wanting to jump in the car to get to one (undoing their intention!)."

The service will be available to all customers by the end of February following a small-scale trial that will help establish the return and reuse rates of the pots.

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