Top consumer brands will test a milkman-style subscription delivery service this summer

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,503   +122
Staff member

Unilever, Nestle and Procter & Gamble are just a few of the 25 major companies that will test a milkman-style subscription delivery service this summer.

The idea behind the initiative, as highlighted by The Wall Street Journal, is to reduce waste from single-use packaging through reusable containers made of steel, glass and other durable materials. Once a product has been consumed, subscribers can schedule to have the empty containers picked up where they’ll be cleaned, refilled and shipped back out to other customers.

Soft drinks and beer were once dominated by refillable containers. According to the Container Recycling Institute, refillables made up 100 percent of soft drink containers by volume and 86 percent of beer containers in 1947. By 1998, the figures had fallen to 0.4 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, as consumer interest shifted to single-use containers due to their low cost and convenience factor.

The initiative could also help companies collect additional shopper data and foster brand loyalty.

The WSJ notes that participating products will cost roughly the same as their single-use counterparts but subscribers will be responsible for a $1 - $10 deposit per container and have to pay shipping. It’s unclear if there will also be a separate subscription fee.

A public pilot is scheduled for May in New York and Paris with roughly 5,000 shoppers. Service will reach London later this year before expanding into Toronto and Tokyo next year, we're told.

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Posts: 1,054   +101
My thought exactly. people discourage the use of single-use plastic water bottles to combat environmental pollution, but what about shampoos? those refill pouches aren't exactly environmental friendly either.

of course the plastic industry will keep this happening for as long as they can. but personally I'm curious what can today's brilliant minds do to solve this problem.


Posts: 18   +6
I remember back in the 70s, you returned your bottle and got a few pence for it!!
If your pocket money had run out, you could find bottles that had been thrown out, and get more money for sweets!!

kira setsu

Posts: 285   +219
Novel idea but I wouldn't switch to it, I'll help the planet however I can but I don't trust people, call me paranoid I dont care.

probably turn on the news in the future and hear about how some company mis-cleaned the containers or some evil tool somewhere laced some packaging with some sorta virus, there's reasons we went to single-use and recyclable packaging and alot of that is safety, look at the examples of people who didnt clean their reuseable grocery bags and got sick, if anything we should focus more on teaching people to recycle and streamlining that process.