A Plastic Planet / Twitter

World's First Plastic-Free Supermarket Aisle Debuts in the Netherlands

The world's first plastic-free supermarket aisle debuted in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

Shoppers at the Jan Pieter Heijestraat branch of Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza will have roughly 700 plastic-free products to choose from, including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables. Instead of plastic, items are packed in compostable materials or glass, metal and cardboard.

"Plastic-free aisles are an important stepping stone to a brighter future for food and drink," Ekoplaza chief executive, Erik Does, said in a statement. "We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging."

Ekoplaza, which has 74 stores across the Netherlands, plans to roll out similar aisles across all branches by the end of the year. A second store is expected to be in The Hague by June.

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, the environmental organization behind the initiative, hopes other food retailers will follow.

"There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic," she said in a statement. "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."

Humanity's enormous plastic footprint can be found on all corners of the planet, the deepest parts of our oceans and in the stomachs and cavities of seabirds, turtles and even tiny plankton.

A recent study published in the journal Science Advances found that more than 8.3 billion tonnes (or 9.1 tons) of plastic has been generated, distributed and discarded since the 1950s. Of that total, 6.3 billion tonnes can be classified as waste but only 9 percent of that total is recycled and 12 percent gets incinerated. The rest, about 79 percent of plastic trash, simply accumulates in landfills or pollutes the natural environment.

"Most plastics don't biodegrade in any meaningful sense, so the plastic waste humans have generated could be with us for hundreds or even thousands of years," study co-author Jenna Jambeck, an associate professor of engineering at the University of Georgia, said. "Our estimates underscore the need to think critically about the materials we use and our waste management practices."

"We cannot continue with business as usual unless we want a planet that is literally covered in plastic," added lead author Roland Geyer, a UC Santa Barbara industrial ecologist.

Thankfully, a growing number of retailers and governments are taking action to curb plastic pollution. Earlier this month, Taiwan's Environmental Protection Agency proposed an ambitious 12-year timeline to eliminate four types of single-use plastics—takeaway beverage cups, drinking straws, shopping bags and disposable tableware—by 2030. Chile prohibits the sale of single-use plastic bags in 102 coastal villages and towns. Kenya introduced a serious law that slaps a fine or even a jail sentence on anyone who manufactures, sells or even carries a plastic bag. Scotland has also announced plans to ban the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds as well as plastic straws.

Show Comments ()

Trump Administration Offers 77 Million Acres in Gulf of Mexico to Oil Industry

The Trump administration is holding the biggest offshore oil and gas lease auction in U.S. history Wednesday, offering all 77 million acres of unleased, available federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

The sale comes as administration officials seek to rescind drilling safety rules approved after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, reduce royalties paid by oil companies, and expand offshore drilling into every ocean in the country.

Keep reading... Show less
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt. Mitchell Resnick

Pruitt to Restrict Use of Scientific Data in EPA Policymaking

In the coming weeks, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is expected to announce a proposal that would limit the type of scientific studies and data the agency can use in crafting public health and environmental regulations.

The planned policy shift, first reported by E&E News, would require the EPA to only use scientific findings whose data and methodologies are made public and can be replicated.

Keep reading... Show less
Mity / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

20% of U.S. Diets Responsible for Almost Half of Country’s Food-Related Emissions, Study Finds

If you've been deliberating about going vegetarian, a study published Tuesday in Environmental Letters might give you the final push.

Keep reading... Show less
Sea Shepherd small boat assists the Liberian Coast Guard to chase down the F/V Hai Lung. Sea Shepherd

Notorious Toothfish Poacher Arrested by Liberian Coast Guard, Assisted by Sea Shepherd

A notorious Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish poaching vessel, famous for plundering the Antarctic, was arrested on March 13 in waters belonging to the West African state of Liberia by the Liberian Coast Guard, with assistance from the marine conservation group Sea Shepherd.

The F/V Hai Lung, known to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) by its previous name "Kily," was transiting through Liberian waters when it was boarded and inspected by a Liberian Coast Guard team working alongside Sea Shepherd crew on board Sea Shepherd's patrol vessel M/Y Sam Simon.

Keep reading... Show less

7 Must-See Films at the 42nd Cleveland International Film Fest

It's that time, again!

EcoWatch is proud to be a media partner of the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF), now celebrating its 42nd year. This year, EcoWatch is honored to be sponsoring Anote's Ark. This documentary spotlights Kiribati, a small remote island facing devastating effects due to climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: 'We have approved Bayer's plans to take over Monsanto because the parties' remedies, worth well over €6 billion, meet our competition concerns in full.' EU Commission Twitter

EU Approves Controversial Bayer-Monsanto Merger

The European Union approved Bayer's takeover of Monsanto, a major hurdle in the $66 billion merger that would create the world's largest integrated seed and pesticide conglomerate.

The European Commission said the German chemical-maker's takeover of the St. Louis-based agribusiness giant is "conditional on an extensive remedy package, which addresses the parties' overlaps in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture."

Keep reading... Show less
Todd Porter & Diane Cu

How Much Daily Activity You Need to Burn off 9 Healthy (But High-Calorie) Foods

By Luke Doyle

A healthy lifestyle is fueled by nutrient-rich foods that give your body the energy it needs. But some of these foods come with high calorie counts and the "healthy" label doesn't mean it's okay to consume unlimited amounts of them.

Keep reading... Show less
Marine debris laden beach in Hawaii. NOAA Marine Debris Program / Flickr

Ocean Plastic Projected to Triple Within Seven Years

If we don't act now, plastic pollution in the world's oceans is projected to increase three-fold within seven years, according to a startling new report.

The Future of the Sea report, released Wednesday for the UK government, found that human beings across the globe produce more than 300 million metric tons of plastic per year. Unfortunately, a lot of that material ends up in our waters, with the total amount of plastic debris in the sea predicted to increase from 50 million metric tons in 2015 to 150 million metric tons by 2025.

Keep reading... Show less


The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!