Refills, not disposables, to protect the environment. This is precisely the aim of the Mibelle Group’s pilot project in conjunction with the Migros Cooperative in Aare. From mid August, laundry and dishwashing detergents will be available from vending machines in supermarkets in Bern’s Marktgasse and Shoppyland Schönbühl.

Naked is fashionable. Many consumers are looking for opportunities to shop packaging free and consequently to reduce waste. What was previously offered mainly by health food stores will now be available in two branches of Migros, thanks to the pilot project run by Migros Aare and the Mibelle Group. Consumers can obtain two different laundry and dishwashing detergents from filling stations. “We want to offer our customers an opportunity to shop as sustainably as possible with us”, says Beatrice Dürrenmatt, project manager at Migros Aare. “If you refill a bottle at least three times, the reusable bottle is more environmentally friendly than using refill packs.”

Vending machines with top sellers and Migros Plus eco line

According to analyses, laundry detergents and hand dishwashing detergents are the categories that customers need to refill most. During the test phase, we opted for one top seller from each and a product from the “Migros Plus” eco line. For washing up, customers have the choice between “Handy” and “Migros Plus Hand Dishwashing Detergent Lemon”. The laundry detergents available are “Total Colour” and “Migros Plus Colour Laundry Detergent”. We are starting with the most popular products to appeal to the widest possible target audience. Surveys revealed that the idea of refills not only appealed to green consumers, but also heavy users.

Ease of use at the filling stations

The filling stations are located next to the detergents in the supermarket. Filling is very simple. Customers pick up an empty bottle or bring their old, original bottle with them. They fill the bottles themselves at the filling station - simply by pressing a button. The vending machine then prints a label with the batch, filling date and a code, which can be scanned at the till. If the customer does not have an empty bottle with them, these are available in the supermarket. For legal and safety reasons, the laundry and dishwashing detergents from the self-service filling machine can only be filled into bottles from the same products.

Nature gains for the same price

A bottle you fill yourself costs exactly the same as one off the shelves. The cost of operating the filling stations is high. The gain is less waste. “The primary aim is for consumers to have the opportunity to refill reusable containers.This saves a lot of plastic bottles and refill bags”, explains the project manager. It’s not only customers who are delighted, nature is too.