A supermarket in Amsterdam now features a dedicated aisle of almost 700 plastic-free, organic products – and there are plans for it to go national
“We can’t stand by, knowing what we know now,” says Sian Sutherland. “It’s simply too important.” Sian is the co-founder of A Plastic Planet, a UK-based environmental action group, and one of the driving forces behind the world’s first dedicated plastic-free supermarket aisle.
Following input from A Plastic Planet, the aisle opened in February at the Amsterdam branch of Dutch organic supermarket chain Ekoplaza. Standing in the supermarket, surrounded by goods packaged in compostable biomaterials made from plants and trees, Sutherland believes shoppers are increasingly seeing through the ‘lie’ that we cannot do without plastic packaging.
“When we began this two years ago, no one talked about the plastics problem. But if you don’t know what the problem is now, you must have been hiding in a cave for the past 12 months.”
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It’s true – plastic awareness has grown suddenly. Documentaries like the BBC’s Blue Planet series have shown the extent of the problem in all its ugly glory: floating plastic patches accumulating in the world’s oceans, grains of plastic crowding out sand on our beaches, and tangled knots of the stuff filling the stomachs of marine animals.
Campaigners say the grocery retail sector accounts for over 40 per cent of all plastic packaging. Recycling may be a way of assuaging our guilt, but over two-thirds of plastic packaging in the UK is unrecyclable. Now Sutherland is pressing for plastic-free aisles in UK supermarkets too….
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