Dutch Supermarket Leads The Way To A Cleaner Planet With A Plastic-Free Aisle


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Photo Credit: my.uplift.ie

Though the harmful effects of plastic on wildlife and human health are well-documented, the versatile material is hard to avoid. Nearly everything we touch, from grocery bags to drink bottles to food packaging, contains plastic. Now, Amsterdam’s Ekoplaza supermarket is making it a little easier for consumers to reduce consumption of single-use bags and containers, which are clogging our landfills at alarming rates, with a dedicated plastic-free aisle. Believed to be the world’s first, it features 700 products, including rice, beans, yogurt, chocolate milk, cereal, snacks, and even meat.

Photo Credit: Ekoplaza

While items still require packaging, everything is housed inside reusable or recyclable containers made of glass, metal, cardboard, and a compostable plastic-resembling biofilm material. The unique idea was proposed to the grocery-chain officials by UK-based environmental group A Plastic Planet, which is leading the charge to advocate for at least one plastic-free aisle in supermarkets around the globe. The non-profit has even created a signature “plastic-free” mark to help consumers identify eco-friendly packaging. “This is a consumer-led campaign,” said group co-founder Sian Sutherland. “We’re a grassroots organization. So obviously we’re working with industry, and we’re working with the government, but most importantly, we represent the public.”

Photo Credit: Ekoplaza

Ekoplaza, which plans to roll out the plastic-free aisles across its 74 stores by the end of the year, is not the only company trying to reduce plastic waste. In Berlin, the Original Unverpackt grocery store has been trying to change customer habits since 2014 by selling everything, from grains to produce and even lotions and soaps, in bulk. The supermarket, which requires customers to bring their own reusable containers, even carries chewable toothpaste that eliminates the need for a tube.

Original Unverpackt grocery store in Berlin (Photo Credit: Still in Berlin)

Though it is encouraging to see companies trying to make a difference, for real change to happen, consumers have to lead the charge by shunning products encased in the polymer, even if it means giving up their favorite food or drink. As Sutherland succinctly put it, “Plastic food and drink packaging remains useful for a matter of days yet remains a destructive presence on the earth for centuries afterwards.”

Resources: Fastcompany.com, theguardian.com

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  • happy_man
    happy_manTuesday, March 2, 2021 at 12:08 pm
    Yes! I'm all for saving the earth!
    • wolfieland
      wolfielandMonday, March 1, 2021 at 11:16 am
      this is a good idea!
      • bsc
        bscMonday, February 15, 2021 at 7:16 am
        Very nice!
        • Harry PotterSaturday, May 25, 2019 at 6:06 am
          they should make every store Plastic Free for less pollution
          • nerdboy
            nerdboyTuesday, April 16, 2019 at 2:38 pm
            BOOO PLASTIC!!!!!
            • mikeMonday, March 18, 2019 at 1:52 pm
              I love donuts like glaze, cherry, apple crum.
              • plastic freeThursday, March 7, 2019 at 8:54 am
                i hope the whole store becomes plastic free, starting with that aisle.
                • plastic freeThursday, March 7, 2019 at 8:52 am
                  i hope other stores take on this idea, too.
                  • Zombie gamesWednesday, January 23, 2019 at 6:13 pm
                    Yassssssss! Save the planet!💕👍
                    • WowMonday, December 17, 2018 at 1:01 am