Quantcast
Popular
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 ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Adventure
Háifoss waterfall is situated near the volcano Hekla in the south of Iceland. FEBRUARY / Getty Images

The Essential Guide to Eco-Friendly Travel

By Meredith Rosenberg

Between gas-guzzling flights, high-pollution cruise ships and energy-consuming hotels, travel takes a huge toll on the environment. Whether for business or vacation, for many people it's not realistic to simply stop traveling. So what's the solution? There are actually numerous ways to become more eco-conscious while traveling, which can be implemented with these expert tips.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Westend61 / Getty Images

EcoWatch Gratitude Photo Contest: Submit Now!

EcoWatch is pleased to announce its first photo contest! Show us what in nature you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Whether you have a love for oceans, animals, or parks, we want to see your best photos that capture what you love about this planet.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Freder / E+ / Getty Images

Surprising Study: Orangutans Are Only Non-Human Primates Who Can 'Talk' About the Past

We already know that orangutans are some of the smartest land animals on Earth. Now, researchers have found evidence that these amazing apes can communicate about past events—the first time this trait has been observed in a non-human primate.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances revealed that when wild Sumatran orangutan mothers spotted a predator, they suppressed their alarm calls to others until the threat was no longer there.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Suicide rates are highest for males in construction and extraction; females in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media, the CDC found. Michelllaurence / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

CDC: Suicide Rate Among U.S. Workers Increasing

From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate among American workers has increased 34 percent, up 12.9 per 100,000 working persons to 17.3, according to a worrisome new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Workers with the highest suicide rates have construction, mining and drilling jobs, the U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
PG&E received a maximum sentence for the 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion. Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Report: 90% of Pipeline Blasts Draw No Financial Penalties

A striking report has revealed that 90 percent of the 137 interstate pipeline fires or explosions since 2010 have drawn no financial penalties for the companies responsible.

The article from E&E News reporter Mike Soraghan underscores the federal Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) weak authority over the fossil fuel industry for these disasters.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Nevada Test and Training Range. U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum

U.S. Navy Proposes Massive Land Grab to Test Bombs

Friday the U.S. Navy released details of a plan to seize more than 600,000 acres of public land in central Nevada to expand a bombing range. The land under threat includes rich habitat for mule deer, important desert springs and nesting sites for raptors like golden eagles.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
A deer stands in the remains of a home destroyed by the Camp Fire. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

63 Dead, 631 Missing in Deadliest, Most Destructive Fire in California History

The death toll from the catastrophic Camp Fire—by far the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history—has now risen to 63, with 631 people still unaccounted for, the Huffington Post reported Friday.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office announced on Thursday that the death toll had risen from Wednesday's figure of 56 after the remains of seven more people were discovered in the wreckage.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
A smoky haze obstructs the view of the San Francisco skyline on Aug. 24 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Smoke Is a Big Health Risk as California Wildfires Rage On

By Nneka Leiba

Deadly wildfires continue to blaze in Northern and Southern California. Dozens of people are dead, hundreds more missing and entire communities have been destroyed.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

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