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HUL launches ‘Smart Fill’ machine, empowers consumers to reduce plastic waste

This initiative offers consumers an innovative option to reuse their plastic bottles by refilling products from HUL’s brands such as Surf Excel, Comfort and Vim through the use of this smart refillery

FMCG company Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has launched its first ‘Smart Fill’ machine, an in-store vending model for its home care products with the aim to reuse, reduce and recycle plastic.

This initiative offers consumers an innovative option to reuse their plastic bottles by refilling products from HUL’s brands such as Surf Excel, Comfort and Vim through the use of this smart refillery.

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To access products from the Smart Fill machine, consumers can either use their old empty bottles or purchase a Smart Fill bottle from the store at a nominal price.  As an incentive, consumers are being offered Rs 30 off on the MRP or effective price at the store if they get their own bottle and Rs 15 off to those who purchase the Smart Fill bottle. The flagship brands that consumers can avail these benefits on include Surf Excel liquid for Top Load and Front Load washing machines; Comfort Fabric Conditioner and Vim Dishwash Liquid Gel. The functionality and the benefits of using the machine are explained in the company’s digital film that supports this initiative.

Prabha Narasimhan, Executive Director (Home Care) for Hindustan Unilever and Vice-President (Home Care) for Unilever South Asia, said, “As a responsible corporate, HUL has always endeavoured to find comprehensive solution that includes systemic rethink about plastic usage. Through this initiative we wish to bring about a positive change in our society and make continuous progress towards a circular economy. The launch of Smart Fill vending machine is yet another step to address one of the challenges of managing plastic packaging waste. We hope this innovation will bring awareness and give consumers an opportunity to contribute effectively in managing plastic waste.”

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HUL’s three-pronged consumer-centric approach of ‘Reuse, Refill and Reward’ is to build mass public awareness that changes the way plastic is viewed, used and managed. The company aims to use learnings from this pilot project to create a scalable refill business model in partnership with prominent retailers and trade outlets.

A vending machine installed at Reliance Smart Acme Mall in Mumbai offers consumers a refilling option.

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Damodar Mall, CEO Grocery Retail at Reliance, said, “We are excited about this initiative with HUL. Reuse & Recycle is a natural instinct in India families. A unique feature of most urban neighbourhoods is a micro-entrepreneur shop that buys household material for recycling. These societal habits must find their modern expressions, too. HUL Refillery is one such smart effort. Our shoppers at Smart Superstore already love it. We are looking forward to taking the idea to more urban centres, along with the HUL Team.”

HUL has committed to ensuring that 100% of the company’s plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. It has further committed to halving use of virgin plastic by reducing the absolute use of plastic packaging and accelerating use of recycled plastic. The company is also committed to collect and processing more plastic packaging waste than the plastic packaging it uses. HUL will also enable collection and processing of over 1 lakh tons of post-consumer plastic waste through its partners across the country.

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