'You can buy gluten-free, fat-free and dairy-free so why not plastic-free?' Dutch retailer launches plastic-free aisle

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers are "sick to death" of foods covered in plastic packaging, said Ekoplaza CEO.   © GettyImages/RusN
Consumers are "sick to death" of foods covered in plastic packaging, said Ekoplaza CEO. © GettyImages/RusN
Dutch organic retailer Ekoplaza has created a plastic-free aisle in one of its Amsterdam stores, to be rolled out across all its outlets.

Debuting today (28 February), the aisle contains a selection of 680 products in plastic-free packaging, including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yoghurt, snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables.

It has plans to extend the initiative to all of its branches – 74 in total – by the end of the year.

“Did you think that we cannot do without plastic in food and beverage products? Ekoplazalab proves the opposite! You will find no less than 680 plastic-free, organic products in our store,” ​the retailer tweeted.

Ekoplaza chief executive Erik Does said that its ​customers were "sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging".

"Plastic-free aisles are a really innovative way of testing the compostable biomaterials that offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging,” ​he added

The plastic-free aisle campaign was started and coordinated by UK campaign group A Plastic Planet, whose objective is to reduce plastic use, particularly that used to package food and drink.

"Recycling this kind of plastic is not the answer; it is valueless, too difficult to reclaim and often contaminated. It’s fundamentally the wrong use of plastic in the first place. But right now, the public have no choice but to buy their food and drink packaged in this indestructible plastic," ​it said.

"When you can buy gluten-free, fat-free, dairy-free; why can we not buy plastic-free," ​asked founder Sian Sutherland.

In January this year, UK frozen food retailer Iceland said it would remove plastic packaging from all its own brand products by 2023, swapping plastic for paper and pulp trays, and using paper bags that are fully recyclable, either through local domestic waste collection or in-store recycling points.

It said it expected the announcement to increase sales, citing a 5000-strong survey conducted by OnePoll last year, in which 91% of UK respondents said they would be more likely to encourage friends and family to shop at a supermarket that had taken a plastic-free stance.

According to A Plastic Planet, 6.9 billion tonnes of plastic has been created since the 1950s and only 9% of this has been recycled.

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