Where is the Refill Capital of the UK?

Where is the Refill Capital of the UK?

Global sustainability efforts are more important than ever as we continue to find solutions, such as investing in refillable packaging, to minimise our impact on the planet.

Reusability has significantly influenced the purchasing habits of global consumers in recent years, with 43 percent of consumers declaring it important. However, 29 percent also reject the concept due to a lack of availability and concerns about hygiene.

Refillable packaging can be utilised by a variety of industries to allow customers to limit their carbon footprint when restocking on popular items, such as food and beverages, beauty and personal care and domestic cleaning supplies and many more.

In celebration of World Refill Day, Lifestyle Packaging conducted a study to identify 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.

UK Cities with the Most Refill Facilities

Number of Refill Facilities

RegionAverage Monthly SearchesWaterCoffeeLunchShopsCleaning ProductsTotal Score /10

The Refill Capital City is Oxford

Claiming the top spot and the ‘refill capital’ title is Oxford, 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).

The city is committed to sustainable practices, as the council’s sustainability strategy includes packaging and waste management goals that encourage residents to reuse and recycle products and packaging.

Between 2021-2022, Oxford was named one of the highest-performing councils in the UK for waste disposal, as residents recycled or reused 58.2 percent of household waste.

Norwich is a Close Second for Refill Capital

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).

According to the most recent report from the Norfolk Waste Partnership, the wider county has at least 15 reuse shops alongside recycling centres and classic packaging materials such as glass, plastic, and metal made up 24, 11, and six percent of the region’s recycling.

Third for Refill Capital is Exeter

In third place, with a score of 6.1 out of 10 is Devon’s capital city of 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).

Lifestyle Packaging provides a comprehensive range of packaging services, delivering from concept to a market-ready solution.