One of the most effective ways to close the tap on plastic pollution is to reduce the material’s production in the first place. Reusable packaging plays a key role here since it allows for a product to be consumed over and over again without the need for unnecessary single-use plastic.
To promote such solutions in the industry as well as reduce its own environmental impact, Nivea has recently started testing the concept of reusable bottles with consumers in Germany.
Beiersdorf, the Germany-based manufacturer of skincare products, is hoping that users of its Nivea shower gel products will feel more encouraged to reuse the product’s packaging with an easy-to-use refill station currently being tested in the drogerie markt chain of German retail stores.
To use the refill station, consumers start with an empty plastic Nivea bottle that’s filled by the machine – to introduce and familiarize them with the entire process – and a small label is printed out that can be adhered to the bottle for payment purposes.
Consumers can refill up to three times before surrendering their bottles for recycling and get a new one for hygiene reasons. As a reward for their eco-conscious efforts, after a bottle is exchanged for a new one, the first filling is free.
As part of the pilot project, Beiersdorf will also be testing the bottles turned in for recycling and analyzing their condition to determine if the refill limits can be increased.
If the testing of the Nivea refill station goes well, it could open the doors to countless other cosmetic products being distributed through a similar system. And, hopefully, eventually lead to machines that allow consumers to fill whatever container they prefer, taking plastics out of the equation altogether.