World Refill Day : Reuse to reduce plastic pollution


June 16th is the International Refill Day: on this day, reusing and refilling are in the spotlight! The opportunity for Zero Waste France and Surfrider Europe, members of the movement #WeChooseReuse to call for the (re)development of the reusable containers!

Returning containers : an advantageous system for the environment, the economy and the citizens

The consignment implies giving a value to a packaging: it materializes by an additional sum paid at the time of the purchase of a product and recovered when the empty packaging is returned. A new life cycle is then opened for the packaging which is washed and refilled in order to be reused.

This practice, widely used until the 70s, well known by our grandparents and which survived in some European countries such as Germany or Belgium, has been gradually abandoned, especially in France and Spain, in favor of single-use plastic presented as more practical. This was without taking into account the multiple harmful effects of plastic: predator for the biodiversity, toxic for the ecosystems, dangerous for the human health.

Reusing packaging has many environmental advantages (reducing the impact of production at the end of the product's life), economic advantages (amortized investment, and reduction of the cost of cleaning up waste), and social advantages (creation of jobs that cannot be relocated).

Legal opportunities to be seized to make deposits a reality

Companies that market packaging or need it to sell their products have a key role to play in redesigning their packaging to make it reusable and more environmentally responsible.

Surfrider Europe joins more than 400 organizations that support the open letter of the "Break Free From Plastic" movement, which calls on the 5 most polluting companies, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestlé and Proctor and Gamble, to transparently commit to ambitious and responsible reuse and refill systems.

Des opportunités législatives à saisir pour faire de la consigne une réalité

The deposit system needs a strong legal framework that sets up the conditions for its success by relying in particular on reuse targets, dedicated infrastructures, an investment plan and the use of standardized containers.

In France, while it is possible to deploy a deposit system at a very localized level, the law provides for a decision in 2023 on a deposit for reuse of packaging or for recycling (which would simply increase collection). This is why, together with Zero Waste France, the Climate Action Network, Friends of the Earth, No Plastic in my Sea, the Deposit Network and the Bulk Network, we are advocating for a return to the deposit for reuse and are sending the government our recommendations for this.

In Spain, Surfrider Espana and NGOs fighting against waste such as Retorna, Oceana and Changing Market also call for the implementation of a national deposit system on packaging with precise recommendations since its modalities are going to be discussed within the framework of a Real Decreto de Envases following the adoption of a new waste law transposing the European directives.

Together let's make the choice of reuse! #WeChooseReuse

Similar articles


Why are biomedia an environmental plague?

Used in wastewater treatment plants to clean up sewage, biomedia are a threat to the ocean and a source o...

read more

Pollution on beaches: these plastic wheels invading us

Without knowing it, you may have already come across these small plastic cylinders on the banks of a rive...

read more

our values


The passion for the oceans, the coastline and the pleasures animate everyone who supports Surfrider and guides the organization's action.


Surfrider is rooted in the value of sharing and participation through inclusion and diversity.


Surfrider seeks a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.