I like big tubs and I cannot lie!
Sending big 200L returnables in a closed loop to reduce plastic waste and the number of delivery & collection drops is an idea we figured out for ourselves back in 2018. It started here, with Fill Refill and a beautiful bunch of maverick refill stores!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
We choose to use second hand reconditioned 200L drums. We source them, used, from a fizzy drinks company. Each one has been washed & prepared for filling & despatch before it starts the refill journey from Fillville. Each drum is robust, durable & easy to fill from. More importantly, we make sure they are used over again and should be good for many years of reuse and refills to reduce packaging waste. We’ve got some of the original vessels in the hangar that have been looping the loop since 2018! We stencil them with vegetable ink. We deliver them with our own drivers who take time to wheel them into place, set them up, prime the pumps and get them up-and-running in stores. We always deliver single-use plastic free. When the 200L returnables are empty, we collect them for washing and refilling. Repeat.
We believe that there’s no better way to communicate the idea of closed loop bulk refills in a store. Fill seekers choose to reuse their own bottles or pick up a cool-looking screen-printed glass Fill bottle. 1 x 200L returnable will fill 400 x 500ml refill bottles, cutting out a whole load of plastic waste. In 2022 we sent out 356 x 200L, that’s the equivalent of 142,400 x 500ml bottles. We did the maths and even our most conservative figures suggest that Fill Refill 200L returnables have saved a minimum of 3.1 tons of plastic! We’re only just getting started.
In 2023 we introduced digital passports for Fill Refill 200L returnables in collaboration with REATH, to capture plastic saving stats more accurately. Folks scan a QR code fixed to each returnable, taking them to online check-in where they can find live info explaining the re-use history of each returnable including the number of times it’s been round in a loop and the corresponding dates. If (and when) successful, we’ll be rolling it onto all returnable Fill Refill bulk packaging. We check-out on despatch & check-in all our 200L drums when they return so we know how many times each one has been used & reused. We’ll be cross-checking & reporting back on how much plastic waste has been saved by delivering this way.
As packaging gets smaller, the relative amount of plastic needed to hold product inside gets larger, because the plastic itself can only go so thin and still do the business. For a 200L returnable drum, the plastic is holding roughly 22 times its weight in product when it’s full. For your everyday single use dinosaur style 500ml HDPE spray bottle that you see on most supermarket shelves, the container only ever holds around 13 times its weight in product or so, or less, depending on the bottle. With some variation, containers between these sizes roughly scale their economy of plastic use. But, even for a very efficient smaller container, the longevity and sturdiness of the humble 200L returnable drum is still undoubtedly better, allowing it to carry hundreds of times its weight in product over its lifetime. These things are rough, tough and built to last. Plus, we think they look pretty cool when we stencil them up. Their commanding presence helps show folks that you mean business and you’re part of the Fill Refill closed loop.
We hope to see you aboard very soon. Have a store that’s ready to roll? Fill out a wholesale application for stocking 200L returnables. Want to fill bigger? We also do 1000L IBCS! Mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas.
200l returnable dimensions: 950mm (height) x 581mm (diameter)
We recommend EZ pumps (see set-up guide)