World’s first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket – Trending Stuff

The worlds first plastic-free supermarket aisle in Amsterdam. Photograph: Ewout Huibers/PA

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, the group behind the campaign, said the opening represented a landmark moment for the global fight against plastic pollution.

For decades shoppers have been sold the lie that we cant live without plastic in food and drink. 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.

The aisle will open in the Amsterdam branch of the Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza. The company says it will roll out similar aisles in all of its 74 branches by the end of the year.

Ekoplaza chief executive, Erik Does, has been working with the campaign for the past month and said the initiative was an important stepping stone to a brighter future for food and drink.

We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging. Plastic-free aisles are a really innovative way of testing the compostable biomaterials that offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging.

The aisle will have more than 700 plastic-free products including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Campaigners say the products will not be anymore expensive than plastic-wrapped goods and will be scalable and convenient, using alternative biodegradable packing where necessary rather than ditching packaging altogether.

They add the aisles will be a testbed for innovative new compostable bio-materials as well as traditional materials such as glass, metal and cardboard.

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Sutherland said: There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic. Plastic food and drink packaging remains useful for a matter of days yet remains a destructive presence on the Earth for centuries afterwards.

Campaigners say the grocery retail sector accounts for more than 40% of all plastic packaging. A recent Populus poll revealed that 91% of Britons back the introduction of plastic-free aisles.

Founders of A Plastic Planet Sian Sutherland (right) and Frederikke Magnussen. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

The Guardians investigation into supermarkets plastic footprint found that leading UK stores create more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste every year. However Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Waitrose, Asda and Lidl all refused to divulge their plastic output, with most saying the information was commercially sensitive.

Last month Theresa May highlighted the challenge of plastic pollution while setting out the governments environment policies. The prime minister singled out the role of supermarkets, calling on them to introduce plastic-free aisles. But she was criticised for failing to back up her call with any concrete measures.

Sutherland said campaigners were in ongoing talks with all the major UK supermarkets but, so far, none have committed to introducing a plastic-free aisle.

She added: Europes biggest supermarkets must follow Ekoplazas lead and introduce a plastic-free aisle at the earliest opportunity to help turn off the plastic tap.

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