In July 2017, U.S. academics found that the negative impact on the planet left by the total amount of plastic produced annually will be permanent. Amid global movements to cut down on the amount of plastic waste, Amsterdam has become home to the world’s first plastic-free aisle in a supermarket.
On February 28, it was reported that the plastic-free aisle will open in the Amsterdam branch of the Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza as part of campaign launched by A Plastic Planet. Customers can walk through the supermarket’s doors from 11 AM and choose from more than 700 plastic-free products on the aisle; these products include meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit, and vegetables. By the end of 2018, the chain will have installed plastic-free aisles in all of its 74 branches across the country.
“We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging,” says Ekoplaza chief executive, Erik Does. “Plastic-free aisles are a really innovative way of testing the compostable biomaterials that offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging.”
“For decades shoppers have been sold the lie that we can’t live without plastic in food and drink,” says A Plastic Planet’s Co-Founder Sian Sutherland. “A plastic-free aisle dispels all that. Finally we can see a future where the public have a choice about whether to buy plastic or plastic-free. Right now we have no choice.”
According to campaigners, the products will not be more expensive than plastic-wrapped goods and will be scalable and convenient. For products that need packaging, the supermarket will be using alternative biodegradable materials. The campaigners are also using the plastic-free aisle as a tool to test innovative new compostable bio-materials as well as traditional materials such as glass, metal and cardboard.
In 2016, a couple based in the British town of Devon opened England’s first zero-waste grocery store. Nicola Eckersley and her husband, Richard, used to go all the way to the city center to get rid of their waste. Tired of commuting back and forth to maintain their green lifestyle, they decided to open the zero-waste grocery store in November 2016 and named it Earth.Food.Love. It is safe to say that the Eckersley’s grocery store and EkoPlaza’s plastic-free aisle follow in the footsteps of zero-waste grocery stores in cities like Berlin, Ottawa, Austin, and New York.