London supermarket launches a plastic-free zone
In taking the decision to change the packaging on almost 2,000 products – including fresh fruits and vegetables – Thorntons Budgens has become the first mainstream supermarket in the UK to introduce a dedicated Plastic-Free Zone.
The supermarket made the change over ten weeks through introducing over a thousand plastic-free plastics, and hopes that other, larger, supermarkets would be able to follow suit and reduce the amount of plastic in their product packaging.
Thornton’s Budgens Founder, Andrew Thornton, said, “The issue of plastic is one that can no longer be ignored, so we’ve chosen to be the first mainstream supermarket in the UK to introduce Plastic Free Zones.”
More Plastic-Free Packaging
In Glasgow, a new entirely plastic-free store opened in May 2018, funded by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), who put forward £100,000. Everything from food to household cleaning products are completely free of plastic packaging.
Scottish Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said, “It was fantastic to visit the launch of its new range of packaging-free goods and see for myself how customers can come back again and again for essential items, thanks to the use of refillable containers.”
The Scottish Government’s “Making Things Last” strategy looks to develop Scotland’s circular economy and protect the environment by keeping products in use as much as possible.
A Global Environmental Campaign
Spurred on by the Government’s initiative to commit to zero “avoidable” plastic waste by 2042, a plastic free aisle was recreated at this year’s Packaging Innovations London conference held in September.
The aisle is a recreation of the real thing – a world first – in Amsterdam set up in tandem with environmental campaign group, A Plastic Planet. When it first open, just 700 products were plastic free. Now, it’s at 2,000, with the aisle rolled out in all 74 of the Dutch branches.
Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet, Sian Sutherland, said, “In a world suffocating in plastic, plastic-free aisles offer our best chance of freedom. They give shoppers who no longer want to be part of the plastic problem the chance to be part of the plastic solution.”
A Plastic Planet has replaced plastic packaging with recyclable alternatives including metal, paper, card, glass, and bioplastics (which are certified compostable).
With an estimated 8 – 12 million tonnes of plastic entering the oceans every year, any campaign to reduce plastic packaging, and therefore the amount of plastic waste, is a step towards helping the environment recover.