The world’s first ‘plastic-free aisle’ was unveiled on Wednesday at a new metro-sized pilot store of Dutch retailer Ekoplaza in Amsterdam.
The idea, which was conceived by international environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet, will see more than 700 plastic-free products hit Ekoplaza’s shelves, including fresh fruit and vegetables.
Goods sold in the aisle will bear the Plastic Free Mark, a new label introduced by A Plastic Planet to help shoppers identify products that are completely free of plastic packaging.
According to campaigners, the concept is set to be “a testbed for innovative new compostable bio-materials, as well as traditional materials such as glass, metal and cardboard”.
Ekoplaza has stated that it will roll out the aisle at its 74 branches throughout the Netherlands by the end of the year, with the next store opening expected to be in The Hague in June.
The launch comes a month after UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced her support for Plastic Free Aisles, following a Populus poll that showed overwhelming backing for such a scheme.
Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet’s co-founder, commented: “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,” he said. “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.”