Consumer goods company Henkel is testing liquid detergent refill stations with the drug store chain Rossmann in Central Europe. Henkel’s newly published sustainability report says that the pilot is part of an effort to close the packaging loop.
“When entering the store, the customer selects an empty bottle of the required product and scans its code at the station. A label is also printed to inform the customer of the product’s expiry date. When the product is used up, the customer takes the empty bottle back to refill it,” Henkel explained in their 2019 report.
Henkel set up refill stations at Rossmann locations in Czechia (the Czech Republic) last November. Customers can refill liquid detergents, fabric softeners, dishwashing liquids or shampoos and shower gels in selected stores, the consumer goods company said. Henkel says that it designed the “gas station” system to be user-friendly.
“We are testing refill solutions in relevant markets to explore and understand consumer acceptance, as well as the related requirements and costs,” Henkel said. “We also want to maximize the re-usability of secondary and tertiary packaging that is typically used for shelf displays or logistical purposes.”
New Sustainable Packaging Targets
This week Henkel detailed other packaging efforts and announced new targets for 2025. Previously, the company aimed to make 100% of their packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by that year. Now, the goal is to have all the packaging either be recyclable or reusable — except adhesive products where the residue could affect recyclability or contaminate recycling streams.
In addition, Henkel wants to reduce the amount of virgin plastics from fossil sources in its consumer products by 50%. Eliminating environmental plastic waste has also become a bigger focus for 2025.
The company says that it is working on solutions such as:
- Adhesives and coatings for flexible packaging that are designed for recycling.
- Offering labeling adhesives for PET containers that allow clean debonding.
- Minimizing complexity regarding materials used for production and simplifying the packaging structures wherever possible.
“To assess our footprint, we use representative life cycle appraisals across all product categories,” the company’s report said. “We also assess data on the raw ingredients and packaging materials we use.”