Last week, Europe’s first plastic-free aisle opened its doors in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Ekoplaza in Amsterdam will have around 700 plastic-free products on its shelves, including meats, rice, dairy and much more food that is typically found in plastic packaging in many supermarkets. Instead, packaging will be made out of biodegradable materials or materials that can be easily recycled!
The opening of this shop is the first of its kind in Europe and is the first of what will become a national roll-out in The Netherlands, with calls for more European countries to follow the Ekoplaza design and ditch plastics altogether in supermarkets. This project was completed in cooperation with A Plastic Planet and also partner the Plastic Soup Foundation.
What can the UK learn from Ekoplaza
Firstly, going plastic free is completely possible. Everything you’d want available to you in a small supermarket is there and is completely plastic free. Currently, leading UK supermarkets produce over 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year which is an absolutely insane amount of waste.
Theresa May and the Conservatives have put forward a very tame goal of going plastic free as a country before 2042 which is far too long if we’re to stop the amount of waste entering landfills and oceans. The Blue Planet 2 documentary highlighted the dangers of plastics entering marine ecosystems and travelling up the food chain with plastic toxins being recorded in seafood that is sold in many of our supermarkets.
There are, however, some positive stories from the UK. Some more well-known supermarkets have pledged to remove plastics from their stores; many have already ditched single-use plastic carrier bags- instead, encouraging others to use reusable carrier bags that can be brought back into the store and be used over and over again. Iceland recently pledged to remove plastic from all of its own-label products by 2022 and the UK and regional governments are also beginning to take an initiative with a nationwide ban of microplastics on beauty products and straw bans in Scotland.
Ekoplaza in Amsterdam is the first of what will be a number of plastic free stores popping up all over Europe and eventually the world!