Product Targets Consumers Concerned With Waste

Discussion
Sep 21, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Laurie Brown, founder and CEO of Minneapolis-based Restore Products Co., is counting on consumers concerned with the environment to make her new product a success.

The Restore Refill Station is a machine that automatically refills plastic bottles of liquid soap, detergent and cleaning fluids. The idea behind the product is for consumers to return their bottles to stores for refilling rather than ending up in solid waste dumps.

Ms. Brown told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “The environmental products that really are going to work will have a good value proposition for the consumer but also a business model that works for the retailer.”

Both consumers and retailers save money with this system, claims Ms. Brown.

After purchasing and finishing a bottle, consumers bring it back to the store to refill themselves. The Refill Station prints a coupon with a bar code with a $1 discount on what it would cost to buy a new item off the shelf.

Retailers save an average of 24 percent compared to the cost of keeping shelves stocked with liquid soap and detergent bottles.

Moderator’s Comment: Are consumers and, perhaps more importantly, retailers and manufacturers ready to move away
from the traditional way of selling liquid soap and detergent with a product such as the Refill Station?

Restore claims to have seven machines in stores in the Twin Cities area and it is speaking with Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats Markets, Lunds, Byerly’s,
Kowalski’s and others about using the Refill Station in stores.

George Anderson – Moderator

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