Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Refilled

Avoiding single-use plastic bottles in vending machines


One startup is eliminating the plastic waste caused by vending machines with its alternative refillable system

Spotted: Around the world, over 481 billion single-use plastic bottles are sold every year, with most of those going to landfill or into our oceans after use. Tackling this issue is Aussie startup Refilled, which aims to eliminate 100 million single-use plastic bottles by 2030 with its circular system. 

After being shocked by the level of single-use plastic bottles available in his gym’s fridges and vending machines and the lack of recycling bins, founder and CEO of Refilled Ryan Nelson started working on a solution. He created “The Refiller”, a drinks dispenser to replace traditional single-use bottle vending machines. 

Refilled’s BYO-Bottle systems mean you can bring any bottle or glass to grab a drink on tap without generating waste, with cold still and sparkling drinks in various flavours on offer, as well as optional additions like caffeine, vitamins, and sports-focused supplements. The company’s sustainable flavoured drink alternatives are cheaper than normal bottled water, with chilled still water also available for free. 

The startup has also created a companion app available on Android and IOS, on which users can track their plastic and emissions reductions, earn rewards, locate their nearest Refiller station, and more. 

Refilled has already partnered with the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Sydney Union to bring its vending machine alternatives to students and the startup is looking to raise $1.5 million (around €1.4 million) in its next funding round. Refilled’s goal is to install 100 Refillers by July 2024 and be on track to save upwards of one million single-use plastic bottles every year. 

Single-use plastics are a massive environmental problem, and Springwise has spotted many innovations looking to reduce our reliance on them. For example, one startup has created an ecological alternative to plastic that’s biodegradable in all kinds of environments, and researchers have found a way to make stronger, durable paper bags that can then be recycled for biofuel.

Written By: Anam Alam



Download PDF