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Unilever Australia has launched its first laundry refill station at Coles’ new sustainability concept store in Moonee Ponds in Melbourne, where shoppers can now refill old bottles of Omo, Surf and Sukin laundry liquid in store.

Plastic packaging will be reduced using new ‘packageless’ refill stations that dispense laundry soaps, household detergents, bodywash, handwash, shampoo and conditioner. The refill station will allow shoppers to refill their old containers in store without the need to purchase new ones.

According to Unilever, the station's aim is to save 20 plastic bottles each week through the initiative, which equates to saving approximately 500 plastic bags.

“While we’ve been designing potential solutions and experimenting for some time, it’s a new and different concept for consumers,” explains Richard Slater, Unilever’s chief R&D officer.

“We’re trialling various approaches to tackle the issue, as there is unlikely to be a one-size-fits-all solution. We’re determined to make a real difference on the plastics challenge, and so we’ll continue to experiment and to test, learn and refine.” 

On the Coles front, the supermarket giant is aiming to reduce food waste, and change how it packages items, through the trialling of misting and cold plates, to enable the removal of plastic packaging without compromising on food freshness, as well as with the reduction of plastic packaging on smaller produce items, such as herbs.

Coles workers will also wear shirts made of 65 per cent recycled plastic bottles, while Coles’ trolley baskets will be made of 90 per cent recycled milk bottles and 10 per cent recycled plastic collected through its REDcycle program.

Coles Group also recently committed to be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity by the end of the 2025 financial year, and to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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