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The Body Shop Expands In-store Refill Program

By the end of 2022, 49 percent of the retailer’s U.S. store locations will offer refills.

The Body Shop has revealed ambitious plans for its In-Store Refill Program. 

After unveiling a five-year plan to roll out refill stations to the majority of stores globally in April 2021, the company has now said that by the end of 2022, 49 percent of its U.S. store locations will offer refills. 

Thus far, the program has been implemented in more than 400 store locations worldwide and collectively saved more than four tons of plastic, the company said. With the program landing at an additional 400 store locations this year, the program will have saved roughly 25 tons of plastic by the end of 2022. 

Customers can refill shower gels, hand washes and hair care products using The Body Shop’s signature aluminum refill bottle. Depending on the size of each participating store, the selection of refillable products will vary from six to 12.

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According to Hilary Lloyd, vice president of marketing and values at The Body Shop, promoting sustainable practices has long been a part of the certified B Corp’s heritage.

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“The foundation of The Body Shop’s environmental activism was born out of ideas like these, when our founder, Dame Anita Roddick, refilled her first bottle out of necessity in 1976,” she said. “We’re thrilled to be embracing a circular economy approach and provide this sustainable alternative.” 

To date, there are 499 refill stations in stores across 51 countries. Roughly 40 percent of the brand’s U.S. store locations and 80 percent of its Canada locations are equipped with these stations. Lloyd said the brand’s Gen Z and Millennial consumers are currently the most significant drivers of the program’s growth.  

“We’re so extraordinarily encouraged to see that the demographic most engaged in refill are our consumers between the ages of 20 and 29,” Lloyd said. “Also interesting is that the program is most popular in New York. Our top two stores are our NoHo location and our Staten Island store.”

While the company is pleased with the program’s uptick in popularity, it is also deliberating ways to further heighten the experience for customers, such as granting participants “additional customization options,” when it comes to labeling their bottles, Lloyd said.

In addition to expanding the refill program, The Body Shop will also fully implement zero waste packaging across its body and hair care products by 2025. The brand’s packaging is presently 68 percent recyclable, and so this shift will bolster the company’s effort to reduce plastic waste and become a more sustainable business. 

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