War on waste: Plastic-free shopping aisle opens in Amsterdam supermarket

  • A branch of Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza is home to the plastic free aisle.
  • Plastic packaging is becoming a big issue among supermarkets and food producers.
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The world's first plastic-free aisle has been launched at a supermarket in Amsterdam.

The aisle is in a new, pilot store of Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza. Over 700 plastic free products will be offered in the pilot, including chocolate, rice, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Ekoplaza is set to introduce the aisle to 74 branches in the Netherlands over the course of 2018.

The aisle is a joint initiative by Ekoplaza and environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet. Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, said that the introduction of the plastic-free aisle represented a "landmark moment for the global fight against plastic pollution."

"There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic," Sutherland said. "Plastic food and drink packaging remains useful for a matter of days yet remains a destructive presence on the Earth for centuries afterwards."

The issue of plastic waste has become increasingly high-profile recently, and many big businesses are looking to tackle the problem. To give one example, U.K. supermarket Iceland, which specializes in frozen food, has made a commitment to eliminate plastic packaging from its own-brand products by 2023.

Ekoplaza Chief Executive Erik Does said that plastic-free aisles were an "an important stepping stone to a brighter future for food and drink."

"We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging," he said. Plastic free aisles, Does added, were an innovative way of testing compostable biomaterials that offered a more environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic packaging.