The German cosmetics giant is joining the bulk and refill bandwagon. In partnership with drugstore chain DM, Beiersdorf is testing in Hamburg and Karlsruhe a refill station for Nivea shower gels. The focus is to reduce the quantity of plastics the company places on the market annually.

The procedure is very simple,” explains Marta Suslow, Packaging Specialist at Beiersorf. “Consumers take an empty plastic bottle from the station and fill it with the product of their choice - in other words, the Nivea Creme Soft or the Nivea Creme Sensitive shower gel. Payment is made using the printed label. To refill the bottle, the container is brought back to the store by the consumer. The plastic bottles can be refilled up to three times using the special barcode. After the third refill, the customer is then asked to hand in the old bottle at the checkout for hygiene reasons so that it can be recycled. In return, they will receive a new bottle and a first filling for free.

The trial is the result of a collaboration between the group’s packaging and R&D departments, which worked for around six months to solve safety, microbiology and user-friendliness issues and get the station market ready. It will help to assess certain technical questions, in particular as regards the maximum number of refills.

The Nivea shower gel refill station is tested in partnership with drugstore...

The Nivea shower gel refill station is tested in partnership with drugstore chain DM in Hamburg and Karlsruhe (Photo : Courtesy of Beiersdorf)

We see the concept as a start for offering consumers individual products in the future that match their own wishes right in the store. We still need to work out in detail what exactly that might look like. The fact is, however, that we not only want to become more sustainable with our measures, but also offer our consumers added value,” adds Caroline Zia, R&D Senior Engineer at Beiersdorf.