A plastic-free, zero-waste stall has begun trading at Altrincham Market.
Echo is the brainchild of Sarah Muldowney, 27, and her sister Claire, 29, who came up with the idea after returning from living in Australia and Asia respectively.
The stall offers an environmentally-friendly alternative to purchasing raw health food – instead of buying pasta, rice, nuts, seeds and dried fruits wrapped in plastic from the supermarket, people can bring their reusable containers to Echo week after week and fill them with their bulk supply of predominantly organically sourced produce.
This minimises waste, in many cases reduces cost to the customer, and sees single-use plastic bags saved from landfill or from finding their way into the ocean.
Sarah said: “As a society, we are facing an unprecedented challenge surrounding waste and leading from the ground up is where we as individuals and communities can help to make a difference.
“The response to our plan to open a zero-waste stall in Altrincham on social media has been amazing. It seems people are clearly ready to change how they shop.”
Alongside foodstuffs, Echo also offers cleaning and hygiene items that provide a sustainable alternative to everyday household products. By refilling shampoo and conditioner bottles with bulk eco-friendly products, customers will be able to reduce their plastic footprint.
In time, Echo hope to expand their product range in line with demand.
Jenny Thompson, co-owner of Altrincham Market, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Echo as a loyalty trader. Consumers are aware of the need to reduce waste and Echo gives them an affordable and accessible way to do this.
“Being as environmentally-friendly as possible is really important to us and as a business we’ve made major changes to the supply chain in order to cut down on non-recyclable plastic waste.
“For example, the amount of plastic used at Market House has dropped considerably and while we previously got drinks delivered in plastic, after discovering that a lot of the plastic in Trafford is burned for energy, we decided to try and reduce the amount of plastic that we buy. We now buy drinks in either aluminium or glass, which are both recycled.
“We’ve been able to influence the supply chain by warning that we’re not going to buy them anymore unless they change the way they supply the products and it’s worked. I strongly believe that many of our customers share this ethos and will be delighted to see Echo at the Market.”
Sarah added: “We are really excited to be a part of Altrincham Market and hope to gain the support of Altrincham and the wider Greater Manchester community in our efforts to reduce waste generally over the coming months.”
Echo Zero Waste will be at the market every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Pictures: Claire Harrison