Are zero waste grocery stores possible?
Paper or ... bio-based and compostable non-plastic packaging!?! It may not roll off the tongue or be as quaint as "paper or plastic?" But in a more perfect world, a zero-waste grocery store would not stock anything plastic! That’s right, not even the ubiquitous bags most of us use to cart home our groceries.
Amazingly, such places already exist. Just not yet in numbers large enough to put a dent in our plastic pollution problem.
Plastic Free Aisles In Supermarkets
A supermarket in Amsterdam is the “wheel” deal! You can literally push your cart down a dedicated “plastic-free aisle” where it’s possible to buy hundreds of everyday food items, including meat, sauces, produce, yogurt, snacks, cereals, and drinks – all wrapped in good-for-the-environment packaging that is bio-based and compostable. Other foods and drinks come in easy to recycle aluminum or glass containers.
“We’re not talking packaging-free – packaging-free is not convenient, and it won’t be adopted at scale by supermarkets and it really won’t be appreciated by the customer, because we’re so addicted to convenience now,” says Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, the U.K. based grassroots organization that helped the Amsterdam supermarket add its dedicated plastic-free aisle.
Sutherland goes on to say… “What’s important for us is that everything on our aisle gives the consumer that same level of convenience, it gives the supermarket something they can scale up, and it’s viable for the supermarket and affordable for the customer.”
Awareness of Ocean Pollution is Growing
The nonprofit launched its “Plastic-Free Aisle” campaign a year ago, as awareness of the problems with plastic packaging and ocean pollution grew in the U.K., and the founders realized that even motivated consumers would struggle to avoid buying plastic packages because most food items found in the local supermarket are wrapped in plastic!
There’s no need to shop around for more details on the plastics-free supermarkets initiative. You’ll find what you need right here at FastCompany.com.
Plastic Alternatives Are Available
In the meantime, don’t wait for a plastics-free supermarket to make its way across the big polluted pond. Here are a few simple steps that can lessen the load in our waterways. For starters, shop with reusable totes – like the ones sold through our COAST IS CLEAR initiative. Reusable water bottles and stainless-steel drinking straws are two more great items we offer that are perfect alternatives to those pesky plastic options.
Oh…here’s the best part: Every time you buy a product from the COAST IS CLEAR Collection, we’ll donate 5% of sales to our partners who are on the front lines in the fight to end plastic pollution. Our combined efforts along with yours will make a splash in clearing our coasts for generations to come!