Oxford crowned the refill capital of the UK


refill station

A study conducted by Lifestyle Packaging ahead of World Refill Day has identified Oxford as the refill capital of the UK, with Wakefield and Salford ranking as the least refillable cities.

The study identified the volume of refilling stations and independent zero-waste shops in each location, as well as the amount of average monthly refill-related Google searches. The data for each city was then divided by the population per capita (per 100,000 people) and given a score out of ten.

Refill stats UKOxford claimed the top spot with a score of 7.1 out of 10. The city has the third highest number of water refill stations in the UK, with 244 locations (152 per capita) and is in the top five in the country for providing lunch refill locations, with 23 across the municipality (14.37 per capita), Lifestyle Packaging says.

Oxford is also ninth highest for its coffee refill offering, with 94 locations (59 per capita) and is in joint seventh place for its four cleaning product refill stores (2.5 per capita). However, there are no zero-waste stores in the area.

In close second is Norwich, scoring 7 out of 10. With a population of 143,118, the East England city has one of the smallest populations, yet it has the highest number of cleaning product refill facilities with four locations (2.79 per capita) and has the most refill-related searches at 4430 per month on average (3095 per capita).

It’s fantastic to see refillable packaging solutions and stores becoming more commonplace in the UK.

Norwich also has the second-highest amount of coffee refill locations, with 82 facilities (57 per capita) and is seventh for lunch refills and refillable cleaning product amenities, with four (2.79 per capita) and four (2.79 per capita).

In third place, with a score of 6.1 out of 10 is Exeter, which has 254 water refill stations – the highest number per capita at 196.

Exeter is fourth for the highest number of coffee refill, zero waste and plastic-free shops and cleaning product refill locations per capita. It has 56 coffee refill stations (43 per capita), two refill shops (1.55 per capita) and three cleaning refill places (2.32 per capita). However, it has just one lunch refill location (0.77 per capita).

Stephen Brownett-Gale of Lifestyle Packaging commented on the results: “It’s fantastic to see refillable packaging solutions and stores becoming more commonplace in the UK and consumers demonstrating a willingness to shop sustainably.”

 He also suggested five things businesses should consider before offering refillable packaging solutions. These were:

  • Ensure there is a demand for it.
  • Consider how much energy is produced manufacturing it.
  • Check the materials – are they refillable and recyclable?
  • Provide clear instructions on how to refill.
  • Consistently review the purchase journey.
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