Organic grocery business, Abel & Cole, has launched a cutting-edge refillable trial. This first-of-its-kind trial will remove single-use packaging from a selection of pantry items and deliver them instead in returnable, reusable pots. This service, named Club Zero, makes Abel & Cole the first-ever online retailer to offer a refillable service in the UK, as part of your normal weekly shop. 

For over 30 years Abel & Cole has proudly sourced the best organic, wild and foraged products, delivering them in environmentally responsible, reusable cardboard boxes. It has saved approximately 55 million single-use plastic bags from landfill and week on week it reduces single-use packaging waste by 88%, in comparison to an average supermarket shop. Never ones to rest on their laurels, in 2019 Abel & Cole certified as a B Corp and vowed to continue finding innovative ways to be as sustainable as possible. Club Zero is the next bold step in its journey. 

Club Zero members will be able to order staple pantry items in fully reusable, returnable pots, nicknamed ‘VIPs’ – Very Important Pots. These ‘VIPs’ will then be collected the following week, to be reused again, and again, and again. Remember the milkman? Well, it’s just like that, but with customers’ favourite pantry items. So, whilst this is a cutting-edge trial, that could mark a significant shift in the way people purchase staple pantry goods, it is also a return to tradition, a trial that combines the most sustainable practices with the convenience of shopping online. 

These ‘VIPs’ are made of plastic. The issues around plastic are very complex. Single-use plastic, designed to be used and thrown away, is costly and damaging to the environment and this is the very issue that Club Zero seeks to solve. However, plastic is lightweight, doesn’t use a large amount of energy to transport, it’s durable, easy to clean and easy to reuse, all of which make it the perfect material for the refillable service. These VIPs are made of Polypropylene, or PP, which can be widely and easily recycled across the UK, if and when the pot comes out of the reuse system. So here, plastic really can be used for good.

The service will open to everyone by the end of February. Click here to learn more