ELLC introduces Project Refill scheme

East London Liquor Company (ELLC) has partnered with Pedal Me to celebrate the launch of its new Project Refill containers.

Pedal Me, the e-courier logistics company, will be cycling a 30-hour, 420km round trip to bring its Booze & Beats Bike Bar to the International Cargo Bike Festival in Haarlem, Amsterdam.

Laden with 165kg of East London Liquor booze on the way out, the team will return all empty bottles to the Bow Wharf distillery, where they will be re-filled and given away as prizes to Pedal Me’s audience.

The trip will produce a total carbon saving of 200kg.

The partnership coincides with ELLC introducing Project Refill to the on- and off-trade.

The campaign has been launched to combat packaging waste and rising costs by selling its gin, vodka and rum in an additional 10-litre HDPE (high-density polyethylene) jerry format.

On-trade accounts are now able to order ELLC spirits in the kerb-side recyclable format so that existing bottles can be refilled for the back bar and speed rail, while off-trade sites are able to invite customers to bring in their own empty bottles of choice to be refilled on the shop floor.

The CO2 emissions linked to the production of the primary packaging are reduced by 88% when using the 10-litre HDPE refills verses glass bottles.

Project Refill is an open sourced network, with ELLC advising all businesses taking part on how to set up operations.

To help scale the programme, ELLC launched ProjectRefill.org to promote all businesses using the closed loop programme, making it easier for consumers to find participating sites as the network continues to grow.

Founder Alex Wolpert commented: “We haven’t started Project Refill just to pat ourselves on the back. It’s to share and grow to make it become as big a beast as we can. With every new account that signs up to the scheme, the more people are able buy into the idea and the more powerful it can become.”

ELLC’s Project Refill is already giving spirits bottles a second life through wholesaler Speciality, as well as more than 14 sites including Native, Stone Mini Market, Hide Bar and New Breed Bottle Shop.

For the off-trade, Project Refill works by allowing customers to bring any empty 700ml bottle from home. They can then choose whether to fill it with East London gin, vodka or rum. The bottle will then be relabelled and a fresh duty stamp added.

The brand launched a range of new look, sustainable packaging for its vodka, gin and rum products in 2020, while the ELLC whiskies received a revamped bottle design earlier this year.

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Author: Georgie Pursey