A trial that allows shoppers at a Lichfield supermarket to fill their own containers with products is being expanded.

The refill station at Central England Co-op’s Boley Park store

Central England Co-op launched the initiative at its Boley Park store following a £3million redevelopment.

The partnership with Suma Wholefoods will now Abe expanded to include body care and home cleaning products as well as food.

Hannah Gallimore, corporate responsibility manager at Central England Co-op, said:

“As a responsible business, we are committed to minimising our impact on the environment and doing so in new and innovative ways.

“We were delighted to launch our first-ever zero waste refill station at our flagship store and been so pleased with the positive feedback from colleagues, customers and members.

“We hope that adding these additional products will provide even more choice for shoppers and lead to the continued success of this exciting trial concept.”

Hannah Gallimore, Central England Co-op

Products such as oats, porridge, rice and dried fruit had previously been included in the scheme, but items such as shampoo, conditioner and washing up will also now be available.

Johnny Spencer, national account manager at Suma Wholefoods, said:

“Zero waste has seen a rise in demand over the last few years, as more consumers look for alternatives that are good for the environment and the pocket.

“We are already working together with Central England Co-op on dry food refills, and are now adding to this with body care and home cleaning products.

“Not only does the zero waste refill station offer affordable options, the range also reduces environmental impact, making it an attractive option for customers of all kinds.”

Johnny Spencer, Suma Wholefoods

Join the Conversation


  1. It’s great to see supermarkets making the move towards zero waste but these supermarket giants once again are taking custom away from small businesses such as the little zero waste shop set up at the plant pot garden centre, which seems to have gotten smaller and smaller in recent months. I couldn’t even find it the other day – it has now been moved to the farm shop at the front of the garden centre and there’s a lot less choice.
    Not saying it’s all Co-ops fault but must be having an effect on the zero waste shop. Support small businesses!

  2. @Isla – as great as that idea is, the Plant Pot is not exactly convenient to a considerable percentage of the population of Lichfield. Whereas Co Op is local, central and convenient, so most people will indeed rather use that. I’m not disagreeing with the sentiment of what you are saying, it is simply a case of which store/business is more likely to be used? Which one almost guarantees a car journey to get to? If these smaller businesses were located more centrally and the local council could subsidise certain rates so this was possible, that would be a potential answer to the problem.

  3. Ed Eaton: you are right, Plant Plot is a long walk (though we do it). I would love to see them move into town centre.
    Coop is GOOD – but be prepared to wait for a kind member of staff to help you when the walnuts/dates/pecans/raisins etc. won’t come out of the dispenser!

  4. Walnuts have probably arrived by plane,. People take special trips by car to avoid using plastic.

    For government, best action is to ban non recyclable plastic.

    For public, best to consider not to cause 10 units of pollution trying to avoid causing 1 unit of pollution.

    I.e. do something that is good for environment, not something that makes you feel good for doing something.

    So if you are already in coop, buy something that is made locally.

    If you are in plantpot, travel by bicycle and try to avoid breathing so you don’t cause any pollution to get there.

    Or plant your own walnut tree and buy a gas heater to keep it warm, then you can say you grow your walnuts locally and feel good about it.

  5. Linda : There used to be a shop right smack bang in the centre of Lichfield and that closed due to lack of customers.

    But I agree with you that certain items always tended to jam in the dispener.

  6. Dave dale walnuts tend to be grown in France and will come via road transport. It is year round asparagus that is air freighted in from Peru

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