Amsterdam Supermarket Debuts Plastic-Free Aisle

More than 700 grocery products are housed in cardboard, metal and glass containers.

March 02, 2018

AMSTERDAM – This week, Ekoplaza, a grocery store in Amsterdam, opened with an aisle containing more than 700 grocery products, all without a scrap of plastic, the Washington Post reports.

Rather than plastic, food is displayed in composted materials, as well as carboard, glass and metal containers. Some packaging mimics the look of plastic, but is actually biofilm made from plants and trees. Products in the plastic-free aisle include chocolate, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, rice sauces and yogurt.

By year’s end, each of its 74 stores in the Netherlands will have an aisle of plastic-free products. The Hague location is next on the list to have such an eco-friendly aisle. The aisles will work as a sort of test for compostable packaging materials. “Plastic-free aisles are an important steppingstone to a brighter future for food and drink,” said Erik Does, CEO of Ekoplaza.

A Plastic Planet, an environmental organization, first floated the idea of a plastic-free aisle to Ekoplaza. The group has a plastic-free mark to help shoppers know which products don’t have plastic. “There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic,” said Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet. “Plastic food and drink packaging remains useful for a matter of days yet remains a destructive presence on the earth for centuries afterwards.”

However, Jessica Green, assistant professor of environmental studies at New York University, said that “sustainable consumerism” has limitations. “Sure, it’s great to consume less plastic when you make decisions about what to consume at the supermarket,” she said. “But that’s not going to fix the problem.”