In an article published on February 28, 2018 by the newspaper The Guardian, journalist Matthew Taylor reported on an Ekoplaza supermarket in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that launched a ‘plastic-free’ shopping aisle. Over 700 products, including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit, and vegetables, are available in packaging that does not contain conventional plastics. Instead, “innovative new compostable biomaterials as well as traditional materials such as glass, metal and cardboard,” are used.
Behind the ‘plastic-free’ supermarket campaign stands non-profit organization A Plastic Planet, dedicated to promoting alternative materials to conventional plastics for food and drink packaging and giving consumers more choice regarding packaging materials. On its website, the organization presents different materials it considers more environmentally friendly than conventional plastics. The Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza intends to introduce similar ‘plastic-free’ aisles in all of its 74 stores by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, the campaigners of A Plastic Planet are working on collaborating with major UK supermarkets.
On January 11, 2018, the UK’s prime minister presented the country’s 25 Year Environment Plan, vowing to take action on plastic waste and urging supermarkets to create aisles without plastic packaging (FPF reported). Ahead of this announcement, UK retailer Iceland declared to replace the plastic packaging of its own-brand products with paper and pulp by 2023 (FPF reported). On January 16, 2018, the European Commission published its EU strategy for plastics in a circular economy which includes planned measures on single-use plastics (FPF reported).
Matthew Taylor (February 28, 2018). “World’s first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket.” The Guardian
Lorraine Chow (February 28, 2018). “World’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle debuts in the Netherlands.” EcoWatch
Steve Russels (March 2, 2018). “There is a reason we use plastic to package food.” ACC blog
Adele Peters (March 5, 2018). “Can you imagine a supermarket with no plastic?” Fast Company