Refill station trial by Central England Co-op extended to include range of non-food products

Posted by rob smyth | Published: 28/07/2021

Central England Co-op is expanding a trial that allows customers to fill their own containers with food to now include body care and home cleaning products.

The retailer is extending its partnership with Suma Wholefoods to widen the offering available at its zero waste refill station, which can be found at its £3 million flagship concept store in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

Currently, customers are able to use the 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.

The trial extension will allow for people to use their own bottles to stock up on Suma brands such as shampoo, conditioner, washing up liquid and laundry liquid.

These products are vegan approved and cruelty free and made in the UK. The extended products are set to go on sale from September.

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 were delighted to launch our first-ever zero waste refill station at our flagship store and been so pleased with the positive feedback from colleagues, customers and members.

“We hope that adding these additional products will provide even more choice for shoppers and lead to the continued success of this exciting trial concept.”

Johnny Spencer, national account manager at Suma, worked closely with Central England Co-op to launch the zero waste refill station trial and install this new range of products.

He said: “We’re delighted to be working on this trial with Central England Co-operative. Zero waste has seen a rise in demand over the last few years, as more consumers look for alternatives that are good for the environment and the pocket.

“Central England is really leading the way in the convenience sector, testing out how refills can work at scale.

“We are already working together on dry food refills, and are now adding to this with body care and home cleaning products.

“Not only does Central England’s zero waste refill station offer affordable options, the range also reduces environmental impact, making it an attractive option for customers of all kinds.

“And, as both Central England and Suma are co-ops, working together is in our DNA.”


Notes to editors


Picture caption: The 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.


Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 7,800 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 16 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.


Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.


It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.


The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 


It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.


Central England Co-op was named Leading Co-op of the Year by Co-operatives UK in 2021.


Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


Phone - 01543 421390


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