Refillable and Reusable Packaging: A Vital Solution for a Sustainable and Circular Economy

Person spraying surface with reusable spray bottle
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Refillable and Reusable Packaging: A Vital Solution for a Sustainable and Circular Economy Image of person spraying a kitchen surface with reusable spray bottle

 Consumers are embracing environmentally conscious practices like never before. According to an IPSOS and World Economic Forum survey, 86% of adults surveyed from 27 countries agreed that “I want the world to change significantly and become more sustainable and equitable rather than returning to how it was before COVID-19.” These eco conscious consumers are interested in reducing waste and single use packaging in favor of refillable products that are considered more environmentally friendly.

In addition, the effects of growing waste impacting the environment are driving laws for more sustainable packaging. For example, New Jersey Bill S2515, which goes into effect in 2024, is the broadest post-consumer resin (PCR) and glass content bill impacting rigid packaging across multiple market categories. This bill establishes that 10-50% PCR content is required for packaging sold in the state.

In California, State Bill 343 goes into effect on July 1, 2025. It requires the CalRecycle committee to determine acceptable recyclable materials and guidance around appropriate recyclability labels and claims; the committee will publish the list on January 1, 2024.

 

“As many domestic and international governments are drafting and passing legislation for packaging solutions for a circular economy, refillable and recyclable packaging plays an integral role in meeting these various requirements. For example, in the U.S., refillable containers in various categories are exempt from certain extended producer responsibility (EPR) or PCR content bills and provide a viable alternative for both private and national brands to comply with new packaging-related laws.”
-Eric Gassaway, director of sustainability, supply chain, TricorBraun

 

In response to US state regulations, other nations, such as Canada, Japan, and EU members among others, are looking to implement bills similar to those passed in CA and NJ, with goals of moving toward more circular economies.

The implication? Retailers are searching for new sustainable packaging solutions to meet critical global circularity goals and commitments with timelines of 2025 and 2030. An excellent option is to develop a winning refillable and reusable packaging strategy.

“As many domestic and international governments are drafting and passing legislation for packaging solutions for a circular economy, refillable and recyclable packaging plays an integral role in meeting these various requirements,” said Eric Gassaway, director of sustainability, supply chain, TricorBraun. “For example, in the U.S., refillable containers in various categories are exempt from certain extended producer responsibility (EPR) or PCR content bills and provide a viable alternative for both private and national brands to comply with new packaging-related laws.”

Lady operating refillable pumpLady operating refillable pump

Numerous Benefits that Promote Sustainability

A refillable and reusable packaging solution:

  • - Moves brands towards a circular design system, which helps cut down waste and reduces single-use packaging.

  • - Promotes brand loyalty as consumers create habits around the rituals and processes of refilling a branded bottle (e.g., via a subscription-based service or at an in-store refill station).

  • - Cuts down carbon emissions for brands through the supply chain as fewer bottles are manufactured and shipped. In addition, refill options are available in reduced weight and material packaging, further reducing carbon emissions through the supply chain.

  • - Recyclable, recycled, compostable, or mono-material options exist for both the reusable and refill packages to further reduce the total environmental footprint.

  • - Reduces product waste as consumers can mix any remaining product into the refill for repeat use.

Setting a Path Forward with Refillable and Reusable Packaging Options

Numerous packaging formats are available for brands to activate a refillable and reusable strategy, including personal care and beauty packaging. From rigid to flexible packaging solutions, TricorBraun’s team of supply chain and quality experts and award-winning designers and engineers are uniquely skilled to recommend consumer insight-driven solutions that ensure product integrity and drive brand loyalty.

Click here to view and download a PDF demonstrating how brands across all market categories are leveraging refillable and reusable packaging formats and contact us to get started on your solution today.


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