RBC Group

RBC Group is a responsible business with a longstanding and enduring commitment to instilling social responsibility into every facet of our work, and reflecting this deeply held conviction — sustainability sits at the heart of everything we do.

We care deeply about making a difference and we are passionate about our commitment to the environment, our employees, and the communities where we live and work. The foundation for these commitments is reflected in our investments and innovation in sustainable technology — an approach that we believe provides manifold benefits to society.

From the inception of our company, we have endeavoured to be a responsible steward of our environment by making a concerted effort across the breadth of our business in pursuing green initiatives conducive to the betterment of the planet — and setting the standard in the sectors we service by doing so.

As pioneers of innovative solutions, we are in a unique position to help others begin their own environmental journey: we are passionate in working closely with our supply chain and customers to make creative and industry-focused improvements to their services, and lay the foundation for the next generation.

We have a long and storied history of leading by example with our leading-edge milestones: from engineering and building the E1 Refill Station, the world’s first fully automated refill station designed to shift consumer addiction from plastic, to pledging an all-electric fleet of vehicles for our Field Services Division by 2022, which will significantly decrease our overall C02 emissions — RBC Group’s commitment to environmental sustainability underpins the future of our planet and our business.

Inspired to act by the climate crisis, and in a world where reducing resource consumption is an absolute necessity, RBC group has designed the E1 Refill Station — the world’s first fully-automated refill station. We urgently need to act on the plastic pollution epidemic that’s plaguing the planet — fostering a shift of consumer behaviour towards sustainability is part of the solution, and the E1 is a pioneering product that will enable such a shift.

The E1 is an innovative, state-of-the-art machine which allows for a range of liquid and viscous products to be sold and refilled at the point of sale — it can dispense a wide range of products, including shampoos, lotions, creams, washing-up liquid, and laundry detergents, and the station can also be fully customised to vend a plethora of dry goods as well, including rice, oats, and dog food. The E1 presents an innovative, economical and ideal solution for retailers and brands alike. Designed with a focus on the widespread adoption of sustainable practices, the E1 curbs the scourge of single-use plastic, and allows for the sale of products without a single gram of superfluous plastic or packaging.

The E1 operates our Return-Refill-Repeat programme — which is a pioneering new approach to sustainable packaging; over 95% of packaging is discarded after just one use, but with our Return-Refill-Repeat programme, consumers can return empty containers to the E1, at which point they’ll be sent to our partners to be washed and cleaned, and made available again to consumers. We’ve spent considerable resources in developing a sustainable solution with reusability in mind: the containers we use are manufactured from either glass or aluminium, and without using glue or any other adhesives in our lids, we can reuse 100% of each container. The E1’s software also includes a raft of environmentally-friendly features, including an option for the E1 to auto-shutdown in accordance with a retailer’s opening hours, thereby saving energy. At RBC Group, we also manufacture the E1 utilising the cradle-to-cradle biomimetic design methodology to ensure our environmental footprint is as minimal as possible. This is sustainable retail at its best.

Estimates from the United Nations Environment Programme state that circa 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s — only circa 9% of this plastic has been recycled, 12% has been burned, and the remaining 79% has ended up in landfills or the environment. To best illustrate the transformational potential of the E1, liquid shampoo was invented in 1927, and it’s been largely sold in either glass or plastic ever since — the E1 is the first time a machine of such technical ingenuity has been created which allows for such products to be sold without any plastic waste at all, and it has the power to completely upend the way household products are sold.

The proliferation of plastic products in the last several decades has been extraordinary. Quite simply, humans are addicted to this nearly indestructible material. We are producing over 300 million tonnes of plastic every year, 50% of which is for single-use purposes — utilised for only a few moments, but on the planet for at least several hundred years. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year, and circa 50% of global plastic is used just once before being thrown away. With the call for the end of single-use plastics at an all-time high, it is now incumbent on consumers to make a concerted effort to combat the disposable lifestyle that’s become the norm — and the E1 Refill Station affords them that very opportunity.

The E1 was also presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year. William Mcdonough, Founder of McDonough Innovation and the recipient of the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, featured the E1 in his presentation on a Circular Economy.