Prepare for Plastic-free Shopping

The Dutch chain Ekoplaza has just launched Europe’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle. Shoppers can choose from more than 700 products wrapped in biodegradable materials that look similar to plastic at no extra cost. This initiative comes at a time when the debate around reducing plastic waste from supermarkets and manufacturers is experiencing a new push, with initiatives such as the LADbible Trash Isles and the U.K. government putting the reduction of plastic waste at the heart of its environmental plan.

24% of Britons express “extreme” concern about plastic packaging in grocery stores and 42% want food and drink manufacturers to make recyclable packaging their top priority. What so far has been an issue for a niche audience of committed environmentalists has grown to become a concern for the mainstream shopper. Fueled by small “zero-waste” or “plastic-free” stores popping up all around the U.K. and the fact that recent findings revealed that U.K. supermarkets produce around 1 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, the issue has slowly been picked up by brands.

British frozen food retailer Iceland is the first U.K. supermarket committing to remove all plastic packaging from its own products within the next five years. This pledge shows that retailers can only be half of the solution; manufacturers have to commit as well. As an example, Evian wants to become “circular” by 2025, using its materials in a closed recycling loop.

With 33% of consumers choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good and 80% of shoppers willing to endorse a supermarket that goes plastic-free, retailers and manufacturers are challenged to find solutions. Backed by government support, this fight against plastic is not going to end any time soon.

Contributed By:Lukas Quittan, Integer London
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