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Plastic-free shopping aisle
By Jinny Throup
Europe’s first plastic-free shopping aisle has been installed in the Amsterdam branch of the Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza. The move comes amid growing global concern about the damage plastic waste is causing on oceans, habitats and food chains. Sian Sutherland is the co-founder of the environmental group called ‘A Plastic Planet’, which supports plastic-free shopping initiatives. She says, “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.”
The dedicated aisle in Amsterdam’s Ekoplaza offers shoppers more than 700 separate plastic-free items including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Campaigners claim that the products will be no more expensive than plastic-wrapped goods, and will use only biodegradable packing wherever necessary. In addition to giving customers a choice in whether to buy plastic or not, plastic-free aisles are also an innovative way to test compostable biomaterials that are more environmentally friendly such as glass and cardboard. Ekoplaza says it will roll out similar aisles in all of its 74 branches across the Netherlands by the end of 2018, and A Plastic Planet is calling for all major supermarkets to follow their good example.