World's First Plastic-Free Aisle Arrives In Amsterdam Supermarket

'There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic.'

A supermarket in Amsterdam is now home to the world’s first plastic-free aisle.

Situated in a new pilot store of Ekoplaza, a popular supermarket, the aisle will boast more than 700 plastic-free products including: meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit and veg.

Packaging will be made from new compostable bio-materials as well as traditional materials (think: glass, metal and cardboard).

The plastic-free aisle in Ekoplaza, Amsterdam.
Ewout Huibers
The plastic-free aisle in Ekoplaza, Amsterdam.

The idea came from international environmental campaign group ‘A Plastic Planet’ and Ekoplaza has grand plans to roll it out across 74 branches by the end of this year. Goods within the aisle will all bear the ‘Plastic Free Mark’, a new label introduced to help shoppers quickly identify products that are free from plastic packaging.

The move comes one month after Theresa May called for the end of all avoidable plastic waste by 2042, announcing the possibility of a “takeaway tax” on single-use plastic items.

Co-founder of A Plastic Planet, Sian Sutherland, described the pilot scheme as a “landmark moment”.

“For decades shoppers have been sold the lie that we can’t live without plastic in food and drink,” she said. “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.”

She added: “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.”

Sutherland has called on Europe’s biggest supermarkets to follow Ekoplaza’s lead and introduce a Plastic Free Aisle at the earliest opportunity.

Earlier this year, frozen food giant Iceland vowed to become the first retailer in the world to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own-brand products by the end of 2023.

Iceland’s managing director, Richard Walker, said: “A truckload [of plastic] is entering our oceans every minute, causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the oceans for our survival.

“The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change.”