London retailer Eat17 calls on big supermarkets to ditch plastic and offer shoppers an eco-friendly alternative

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An innovative London retailer pioneering the use of refillables is calling on the big supermarkets to ditch the plastic and offer shoppers an eco-friendly alternative.

Eat17 has seen sales from its refillable stations boom since they were first launched two years and claim consumers need to be offered alternatives.

In the last 12 months alone they’ve seen sales increase by 20% despite restrictions being in place since March and are expecting that figure to increase as shoppers head back to the high street.

They believe refillable products should be available to everyone and to suit every budget if the UK government is going to reach its target of eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

Eat17 first introduced refillables to its stores in 2018 and has gone from offering dried pulses, cereals, pasta and rice to now include oils and vinegars, detergents and even wine.

Bestsellers include nuts and seeds, herbs and spices plus oils, refillable wine, rice and cereal oats.

Shoppers can take in their own containers and bottles to refill or buy them instore to reuse and pay by weight for the products chosen.

Some stores have entire walls full of refillable stations with the Hackney store recently introducing new lines due to shopper demand.

Eat17 is now calling on the big stores to follow their lead and introduce refillable stations for shoppers wanting to reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill.

Co-founder of Eat17 James Brundle said: “We first introduced refillables in to store two years ago and have seen sales in the products continue to rise during that time.

“What shocks us, factoring in the government’s commitment to cutting plastic waste, is that the big supermarkets aren’t following the lead.

“One did trial refillables late last year but whether that will be rolled out further is yet to be seen.

“We’re not suggesting stores ditch all packaging but what we’d like to see is changes being made. There are little changes – not pre-packaging fruit and veg, reusable fruit and veg bags rather than plastic bags and refillables for practical dried products.

“Feedback from our customers is that they’re crying out for more of this and the more prevalent it becomes, then shoppers will give it a go and realise how easy and cost effective it can be.

“Once the demand is there, then we’ll see more stores seriously considering refillables as a viable route to go down.”

Eat17 opened it’s first store in Walthamstow over ten years ago and since then has offered shoppers a unique experience combining convenience retail and good local products with instore and take away dining options.

James added: “Keeping the stores relevant to local consumers has always been a massive priority to us. We source and stock local products, we have our own range of over 300 items with more being added all the time and most importantly listen to what our customers want.

“Refillables has always been high on that list and will be something that will evolve and grow over the coming years.”