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Shampoo refill stations prove popular with Mexican consumers


An in-store innovation from our Sedal brand will help towards our plastic reduction targets and contribute to wider efforts to create a ‘Mexico free of waste’.

Young woman holding Sedal aluminium refillable bottle.

At the end of last year, we launched a plastic waste reduction trial for our Sedal brand that’s proved so successful, we’re planning to roll it out across the country.

We set up refill stations in ten Walmart stores allowing consumers to fill up reusable aluminium bottles with Sedal shampoo rather than buying the product in the usual plastic bottles.

This is the first time one of our Beauty & Personal Care brands has conducted a reuse-refill trial in Mexico, and the reaction from consumers so far has been extremely positive.

In the first ten days, we sold two tonnes of Sedal shampoo in the new aluminium bottles, and that level of demand has remained pretty much constant ever since.

While consumers pay for the reusable bottle in the first instance, every time they refill it, the product is cheaper than if the equivalent amount was purchased in a plastic bottle.

Expanding the initiative

We chose aluminium bottles as they are highly durable and infinitely recyclable.

To get the trial up and running as quickly as possible – so we could gauge if there was a demand for this kind of self-service solution – we used a simple, mechanical pump for the prototype system which dispenses one litre of product per use.

Now that we know the interest is there, we plan to expand the project.

The success of the Sedal Refilleries led to Walmart naming Unilever Mexico its Supplier of the Year for sustainability.

As Rodrigo Reynoso, VP Beauty & Personal Care Marketing at Unilever Mexico, says: “I’m extremely happy to see the impact of something that started out as a dream due to all the hurdles and uncertainties that lay ahead of us. But through agile working and our passion behind something that Unilever truly stands for, we accomplished what many saw as impossible.”

“Your commitment to the environment #Reuse”. Our Sedal shampoo refill stations in Walmart

Text reads: Your commitment to the environment #Reuse

Our wider efforts on plastic packaging

Mexico is the second-largest producer of plastic waste in Latin America, so we’re committed to finding solutions to the problem.

As part of our ongoing efforts to help create a ‘Mexico free of waste’, we are continually developing new packaging for our products. This includes the use of recycled PET and HDPE.

Through local environmental NGO ECOCE, we have recovered more than 6,000 tonnes of equivalent volume of post-consumer PET since 2017. We are now working with ECOCE and other industry players to help develop the recycling ecosystem for HDPE in Mexico, in order to recover more than 11,000 tonnes of post-consumer plastics per year.

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