As days pass by, plastic pollution is getting worse. According to experts, plastic pollution not only affects the environment negatively but also economically imprudent, meaning billions of dollars of economic value are just thrown away after a single, and short use.
To date, much of the emphasis has been on recycling plastic to reduce its impact, however, 60% of plastic ends up either in landfills or the natural environment, reports Pewtrust.
At the same time, the booming e-commerce is another area, particularly in the grocery sector, which is reliant on significant volumes of single-use packaging. Solving this growing problem requires creating a plastics economy that is sustainable, smart, and circular.
Here’s where Pieter Pot, a Rotterdam-based online grocery service comes into play. The Dutch company is on a mission to make grocery packaging-free.
Pieter Pot has now announced that it has raised €9M in funding led by London-based VC ETF Partners. Existing investors including, SHIFT Invest, The Future Food Fund, and IQCapital (InnovationQuarter), and numerous food tech industry luminaries, including Simon Murphy, Chairman of The Modern Milkman, also participated in the round.
The latest fund will enable Pieter Pot to accelerate international expansion, product development including technology and infrastructure enabling a fully circular e-grocery experience. To date, the company has raised €12.3M in funding.
Jouri Schoemaker, Founder, and CEO at Pieter Pot say, “Plastic packaging is a by-product. Consumers are interested in what’s in the box, not the box itself. By moving packaging to reusables, we’re able to radically alter consumption patterns without demanding people to dramatically change their behavior. We’ve now proven this could be done at scale and, with the new investment, we are doubling down on growth and our customers’ convenience. ETF Partners’ experience and track record speak for itself, and we are delighted to have them on board.”
Circular grocery experience
Founded by Jouri Schoemaker, and Martijn Bijmolt in 2019, Pieter Pot replaces plastic packaging with reusable jars and glass bottles, allowing consumers to participate in a fully circular grocery experience.
It offers over 300 long-lasting and non-perishable items such as rice, lentils, cookies, olive oil, ketchup, and more.
How does it work?
Once the user orders the item on the website, the groceries are delivered through PostNL the next day in fully reusable jars along with burlap deposit bags. Upon emptying the jar, users need to keep it inside the bags and return them to the delivery person on the next delivery.
The company then collects empty jars, cleans and refills them with another order. In doing so, Pieter Pot allows consumers to reduce their plastic consumption without having to change the way they buy.
Since its inception, more than 700,000 jars have been introduced into circulation, helping to reduce the need for more than 1.35M single-use plastic packages to date, claims the company.
By 2022, the company is targeting to eliminate 1M packages per month.
In Europe, reusable e-commerce packaging is rapidly growing as many companies want to get rid of single-use external packaging.
Within the grocery sector, Pieter Pot competes against companies like:
- Lyfa, a Swiss online grocery platform that uses reusable containers
- Vrac’n Roll, a French company that offers multi-category organic grocery in reusable containers and packages
- Le Fourgon, a French company that offers beverages and alcohol through reusable crates.
ETF Partners supports talented entrepreneurs and management teams with capital and experience. The company’s funds come from global corporations, institutional investors, and family offices.
Tomer Strikovsky of ETF Partners who will join Pieter Pot’s Board of Directors says, “It’s clear that if we are to create a sustainable lifestyle, we need to tackle deeply entrenched problems in new ways. Pieter Pot is at the epicentre of multiple trends, including sustainability and technology, and reimagining a sector central to everyday life, specifically groceries. It is exactly the sort of business we are looking to invest in: a unique service offering in a burgeoning, continually growing sector, led by a team hyper-focused on having an impact through their sustainable, scalable company.”