Refill station trial by Central England Co-op aims to cut down plastic packaging and waste

Posted by rob smyth | Published: 14/12/2020

Central England Co-op is trailing a new concept that allows customers to fill their own containers with food.

The retailer has teamed up with Suma Wholefoods to create its first-ever zero waste refill station as part of the launch of its £3 million flagship concept store in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

Customers will be able to use the new feature for a range of products including oats, porridge, rice and dried fruit as part of its long-term efforts to cut down on plastic packaging and waste.

If successful, the concept could be rolled out across more of its 262 stores nationwide.

Hannah Gallimore, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Central England Co-op, said: “As a responsible business, we are committed to minimising our impact on the environment and doing so in new and innovative ways.

“We are delighted to have launched our first-ever zero waste refill station as we know that it will be something that will appeal to our customers and members.

“Feedback has been great so far and we cannot wait to hear more of what people think in the coming weeks and months.”

Johnny Spencer, national account manager at Suma, worked closely with Central England Co-op ahead of the launch of the zero waste refill station trial.

He said: “Zero waste is a big trend for many retailers at the moment. More and more customers are looking to cut unnecessary plastic out of their shopping, and retailers themselves want greener stores and supply chains.

“At Suma we’ve seen a growing number of dedicated zero stores open over the last few years, and now we’re starting to see really forward-thinking retailers like Central England Co-operative incorporate refill stations into convenience stores.

 “Central England Co-op have set the bar high with their large, well-designed and well-stocked station. We’ve worked closely together to get the offer right, and I think we’re all pleased with such a fantastic outcome.

“We’ll be watching how it develops, as I’m sure many other retailers will too. There’s no doubt that Central England Co-op are at the start of a trend that will only grow.”

This latest trial is one of several being rolled out by Central England Co-op as part of an effort to offer customers an improved shopping experience. Other trials include people being able to scan and go in stores and two eco-friendly home delivery options powered by mobile apps.


Notes to editors


Picture caption: The new zero waste refill station at Central England Co-op’s flagship Boley Park store.


About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.


Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 


Our 7,550 colleagues who serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.


Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 


We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.


We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.


Visit for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood


Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


Phone - 01543 421390


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