Plastic-free aisle debuts in Amsterdam

The world’s first plastic-free aisle has been unveiled at an Amsterdam supermarket.

The brainchild of international environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet, the aisle will sit within a completely new metro-sized pilot store of the Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza.

Over 700 plastic-free products will be included in the pilot including: meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Ekoplaza will roll out the aisle across its 74 branches across the Netherlands by the end of this year. The second store with a plastic-free aisle is expected to be in The Hague with the opening set for June this year.

It will be a testbed for new compostable bio-materials as well as traditional materials such as glass, metal and cardboard.

The launch comes a month after British prime minister Theresa May announced her backing for plastic-free aisles in her first major speech on the environment.

A Populus poll revealed last year that more than nine-in-ten Britons back the introduction of a plastic-free aisle in supermarkets, and campaigners hope that UK supermarkets will soon follow Ekoplaza’s lead.

Goods within the aisle will all bear the plastic-free mark, a new label introduced by A Plastic Planet to help shoppers quickly identify products that are completely free from plastic packaging.

A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland, says, “The introduction of the world’s first plastic-free Aisle represents a landmark moment for the global fight against plastic pollution.

“For decades shoppers have been sold the lie that we can’t 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.

“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.

“Europe’s biggest supermarkets must follow Ekoplaza’s lead and introduce a plastic-free aisle at the earliest opportunity to help turn off the plastic tap.”

Erik Does, Ekoplaza chief executive, adds, “Plastic-free aisles are 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.”

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