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Belu Delivered to Your Doorstep via Milk & More, Again and Again

In celebration of World Refill Day 2023, we’re delighted to announce we’re helping more of our favourite brands take the leap to refillable packaging, making refill shopping more convenient than ever before. Find out what it means to Belu, sustainable supplier of glass-bottled mineral water, to close the loop and join the Refill Revolution.

When it comes to living more sustainably and ultimately creating a circular economy, ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ (in that order) is a mantra that really makes sense to adopt. At Belu, we’ve always worked hard to reduce the packaging weight, bulk and carbon intensity of our drinks and even though mineral water is our core product, we still champion drinking tap water or filtered water and using refillables above single use, because of the reduction in waste. 

All of our drinks are packaged using materials which have industry leading recycling credentials. Lightweight, ethical glass with at least 40% recycled content for starters, 100% recycled PET for our grab and go bottles - and all our bottles are recyclable too. So we’re ahead of the game with ‘Reduce’ and ‘Recycle’ with plans to get even better. And now we’re very excited to report that we’ve taken a giant ‘Reuse’ step forward too.

Over the last six months, we’ve been working with the team at Again to trial a re-use process for our glass mineral water bottles. Again’s revolutionary, London based CleanCells® have the capacity to receive 250k units of packaging per month, cleaning and sterilising them so they can be refilled and reused - rather than recycled and reformed.

Glass is infinitely re-useable in principle but is also prone to breaking and scuffing if not handled carefully, so one of the challenges Again has faced has been refining their process to keep bumps and breakages to a minimum. The exact number of times our mineral water bottles will be able to be re-used remains to be seen - but the process looks to be full of potential and we’re delighted to be partnering with doorstep delivery trailblazers Milk & More to bring the concept to life.   

Of course, reusing glass bottles is not a new idea. The milk floats of the 70s had the market wrapped up and leaving your empty bottles on the doorstep was second nature. But Milk and More has brought a timely and innovative refresh to the milk round, offering an extensive range of essentials and treats with a focus on brands that operate using sustainable and ethical practices. We’re very happy to be listed alongside Fill home essentials, Tom Parker Creamery, River Cottage and more - and delighted that Milk & More customers can now buy their still and sparkling mineral water in re-useable bottles - and have them whisked away to the Again CleanCell® so they’re ready for refilling.

The guiding principles of a circular economy are rethinking the concept of ‘waste’ by using products and materials which are safe for human health and the environment and which can be reused continuously. Also wherever possible: reuse, repair, refurbish, re-manufacture and recycle to create ‘closed-loop’ systems which essentially means there is no waste. As part of our Reuse project, we’ve developed a CleanCell®-friendly wash-off label which won’t clog the process and can be recycled. It also identifies our bottles as ‘reusable’ so customers can easily see they’re part of Milk & More’s reusable range and hopefully will remember to leave them out on the doorstep for collection, rather than going into the regular recycling.

Add this to Belu’s other recycling credentials and the social enterprise structure which has delivered £5.5m to WaterAid since 2011 to transform lives with clean water, and we’re really starting to look like a truly sustainable business. We’re still busily looking into the numbers relating to this new project. Yes, there are logistical impact considerations, like delivery of the bottles to and from Again’s CleanCell®. There is also the water and energy footprint, but the process has been developed with sustainability at its core. It’s surprisingly low intensity and the Again team are dedicated to continued improvement. We’re looking forward to learning more (and reporting progress and key stats) as our bottles begin to move through the cycle, so watch this space.