Unilever scraps its packaging

A vending machine goes to war on waste by allowing consumers to re-use their old plastic bottles.

da Maud Largeaud , AdForum

By now we’re used to buying breakfast cereal or nuts in bulk rather than stocking up on packs of the stuff. But how about detergent? Plastic pollution is a problem everywhere – but it’s particularly acute in India, where there are mountain-sized heaps of former packaging. Unilever decided it could no longer afford to be part of the problem, so it launched a solution. In supermarkets, it installed “Smart Refill” vending machines that allow consumers to refill old packaging – even from rival brands – with its detergents and washing up liquids. A new take on the Indian tradition of “repurposing” tins, boxes or tubs. The highly laudable initiative has already been honoured at international awards such as the Cannes Lions, New York Festivals and Mad Stars.