In order to reduce packaging waste, French start-up Jean Bouteille is offering consumers the ability to buy liquid products in bulk via returnable glass bottles. Wines, oils, fruit juices, as well as detergents, shampoos and cleaning solutions... Jean Bouteille offers a hundred liquid products through 1400 French stores that have got on board with this possibility to reduce packaging waste, in particular plastic waste.

Bulk buying is on the right track

Bulk sales appear as an effective solution for reducing packaging waste. Once announced as one of the main packaging trends in 2020, the growth of in-store refill has been temporarily slowed by the pandemic, in particular for foods. However, as far as hygiene and beauty products are concerned, more and more brands are joining the concept. Nivea, L’Occitane, The Body Shop, Biotherm, for instance, have tested and, sometimes, deployed on a large scale, their own in-store refill solutions in a large variety of retail channels.

Founded 2014, Lille, France-based Jean Bouteille offers a standardized and customisable solution, mainly for mass e-retailers.

For Gérard Bellet, the founder, the deposit system is an emotional reminder of his childhood. “It disappeared without us realizing, but it is part of our heritage, our recent history, and it has a vintage charm that is liable to improve our daily lives, as well as being an ecological tool.

A practice that’s back in business

Jean Bouteille fits out shops with dispensers of oil, wine and vinegar, as well as household and beauty products and, more recently beer and even spirits. In exchange for 1-2 euros, store customers receive an empty bottle, which they can reuse as much as they want and return at any time. In this way, they are reducing their waste while making savings: indeed the packaging represents 20 to 25% of the final cost price of the product.

Specific solutions can be developed for brands, including reusable and recyclable plastic bottles for use in bathrooms.