The packaging-free refills are cleaned up in Italy
One model of the zero waste business is to actually clean up in Italy-replenish detergent shops. The idea is simple, and given its rapid expansion, it seems to be able to withstand the economic downturn: customers bring their own empty cleaning product containers to the store and then refill them from bulk dispensers. Bottles can also be bought. It complies with the zero-waste principle, which is to avoid generating waste at the source before considering disposal and recycling.
According to Antonio Fico, the marketing and communications manager of such chain Detersfuso, this is not only an environmentally friendly way of spending, but it also has a positive impact on household budgets as many households reduce spending.
In a 2011 study by the Italian National Consumer Observatory, it was found that a family of four could save 205 euros per year if they bought the same cleaning products in bulk instead of packaging. These savings are attracting customization and facilitating expansion. The franchise chain already has 140 stores in central and southern Italy.
Its founder, Carmine Manna, was inspired in 2009 after witnessing a serious collapse of the garbage collection system in his hometown of Naples, pushing his industrial detergent company in this new direction. He has adopted a firm zero-waste approach to his career:
"Reducing waste in the production phase is crucial. Today, the recycling rate is still very low. If we want to transform our economy, create new employment areas and contribute to the protection of the environment, we must reduce waste and industrial waste to a minimum Limit and encourage people to choose complementary products."
The bulk cargo chain is proud of its contribution to reducing waste. According to Fico, since 2011, Detersfuso has transferred 5 million plastic bottles, or 300 tons of plastic, from the landfill. Given that Naples has signed an agreement to become a “zero waste city” by 2020, such initiatives play a vital role in helping the city achieve its goal of 100% waste removal from landfills and incinerators.
Another Italian chain, Goccia Verde, went one step further, offering only ecological cleaning and personal care products. They have a total of 17 stores and even expanded internationally. Now they have 6 stores in Spain, 2 of which are in Barcelona.
Some of their stores have coin-operated automatic dispensers to help further reduce retail prices. They estimate that customers can save 20% to 60% in cleaning product prices compared to each purchase of a new bottle.
Of course, this does not include the savings that the local government does not have to manage plastic waste or clean up illegal dumps and plastic pollution, which destroys the landscape and poisons the lives of local people and wildlife.
When many small companies in Europe are struggling to maintain profits, switching to a zero-waste distribution model can help them smooth out the competition and contribute to a cleaner environment.