Wednesday, 21 March, 2018

Amsterdam's Plastic-Free Aisle in Supermarket Wins Praise

Ewout Huibers                   The plastic-free aisle in Ekoplaza Amsterdam Ewout Huibers The plastic-free aisle in Ekoplaza Amsterdam
Nellie Chapman | 03 March, 2018, 06:44

News of the world's first plastic-free aisle - a collaboration between environmental campaigners, a supermarket chain, and suppliers - does, however, suggest that the consumer demand for more environmentally-friendly products is growing. More than nine in 10 Britons want to see a Plastic Free Aisle introduced in supermarkets, while 81 percent are concerned about the amount of plastic that is thrown away in the UK.

The world's first plastic-free aisle has been launched at a supermarket in Amsterdam.

In response, frozen-food retailer Iceland announced that its private-label range will be plastic-free by 2023 and called on other retailers to follow suit.

Here, over 700 products stocked on the shelves are contained within plastic-free packaging, which - although closely resembling the look, feel and strength of real plastic - is made using natural, 100 per cent biodegradable materials.

"If we don't do anything about this, 50 years down the road, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans", Frans Timmermans, the vice president of the European Union's executive body, said to The Guardian in January. To give one example, United Kingdom supermarket Iceland, which specializes in frozen food, has made a commitment to eliminate plastic packaging from its own-brand products by 2023. "Right now we have no choice", she was quoted as saying by The Independent. The plastics free line includes meat, rice, sauces, dairy products, fruit and vegetables.

The aisle will be a testbed for innovative new compostable bio-materials as well as traditional materials such as glass, metal and cardboard. A recent Populus poll revealed that 91% of Britons back the introduction of plastic-free aisles.

The project, which was orchestrated by environmental group A Plastic Planet, is just one of many initiatives that have recently been taken to ditch plastic packaging.

"There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic", Sutherland said.

The Guardian's investigation into supermarkets' plastic footprint found that leading United Kingdom stores create more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste every year.

"Sure, it's great to consume less plastic when you make decisions about what to consume at the supermarket", she said.

In introducing the world's first Plastic Free Aisle, Ekoplaza is blazing a trail that the UK's grocery retailers should follow. The company plans to add plastic-free aisles to all of its 74 stores by the end of 2018.