Barrows Global Launches Sustainable Circular Retail Display


Barrows Global has launched a promotional display fit for a circular economy. The PolyAl unit addresses wastage by using a permanent upcycled core structure that is regularly recladded with a new brand campaign.

Barrows’ challenge was to design a temporary display that could meet the requirements of the dynamic and ever-changing in-store environment while using resources efficiently and eliminating waste.

The result is a reusable unit that requires up to 90% less corrugated board than traditional temporary displays. PolyAl units are revolutionising physical retail as brands that rent these displays enjoy a 37% carbon saving (as verified by The Green House, an independent third party).

The upcycled core

Barrows was approached to find a second life for the material ‘PolyAl’, made from the plastic (polyethylene) and aluminium layers of post-consumer long-life liquid cartons that Tetra Pak and Gayatri Paper Mills are diverting from landfill. After a year of research and development, in partnership with Perspex SA, Barrows was able to manufacture a PolyAl core upcycled from 3500 long-life cartons, hence the name the PolyAl display. This reusable core is customisable with adjustable shelving, allowing for varied product heights and sizes. It is shipped flat-packed to retailers and is designed to be easily assembled and disassembled for end-of-life recycling.

Barrows design, manufacture and install the PolyAl displays at retailers. The core units are asset tracked and Barrows takes responsibility for the maintenance of the units, which are uplifted and recycled into new displays at the end of 24 months. Brands book space in-store with the retailer and rent the displays from Barrows on a monthly basis.

Joss Myers, MD Barrows Africa said, ‘Retailers own the space that the displays occupy and their buy-in for this concept is critical. Dis-Chem, a leading South African drug retailer, is the first to adopt the programme. The first 505 PolyAl displays have just been installed in Dis-Chem stores nationwide. These units have diverted 1.8 million long-life cartons from landfill and by the end of the year this number is expected to reach 3.5 million as the programme grows with Dis-Chem.’

‘The response from our store managers and customers has been overwhelmingly positive,’ said Mark Norton, Group Marketing Manager at Dis-Chem. ‘Freestanding display units are vital to our business, as they are designed to attract consumers and move stock quickly. Not only are the PolyAl displays made from recycled materials, but they are fully recyclable, which aligns with Dis-Chem’s commitment to be more environmentally responsible.’

The first brands supporting the programme include the Dis-Chem house brand Greener Living, Unilever’s multibrand Spring Clean, Red Bull and Celltone Skin Care. ‘In light of our current environmental crisis, many brands and retailers are becoming increasingly committed to reducing their environmental impact,’ explained Jenna Bleloch, Head of Sustainability at Barrows Global. ‘The PolyAl units are an in-store solution that is consistent with these goals.’