Lumi defines refillable packaging that's designed to be refilled to cut down on the use of new packaging with each purchase.
Whereas reusable packaging is more broadly defined, refillable packaging is paired with a business model that enables the consumer to purchase refill quantities of the product that minimizes additional packaging, or in a closed-loop system such as a use-return-clean-refill-reuse model.
Refillable options typically come in the form of primary packaging. It's sometimes referred to as single-trip packaging. The more often a package is reused or refilled, the greater the environmental benefits1.
Examples of reusable packaging include supplements or cleaning products shipped in sturdy plastic or glass containers that can be replenished with minimally packaged refills6 7. Refillable packaging typically requires an investment in product design, business strategy, and logistics.
Why choose it
When compared to single-use packaging, reusable models can help deliver a better user experience, build brand loyalty, and save costs over time2. Refillable packaging provides the opportunity for functional, attractive, long-lasting items that are valued by the end consumer as they become a recurring part of their lives2.
This strategy is well suited for the primary packaging of products that can be refilled, either through home delivery or in some sort of in-store refill infrastructure. This is an opportunity for significant impact with refillable packaging3.
Frequently asked questions
Andreas Golding. Reuse of Primary Packaging (European Commission, 1999)
Reuse: Rethinking Packaging (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2019)
Dr. Stephen Siang-Guan Lee, Dr. X William Xu. Design for the environment: life cycle assessment and sustainable packaging issues (International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, 2005)
The New Plastics Economy: Catalyzing Action (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017)
The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2014)
Vicky Lofthouse, Rhoda Trimingham, Tracy Bhamra. Reinventing Refills: Guidelines for Design (Loughborough University, 2017)
Vicky Lofthouse. A creative approach to investigating refillable packaging systems (Loughborough University)