Pressure mounts on UK supermarkets to create plastic-free aisles


If shoppers can choose gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, kosher, and halal food items, why not plastic-free, too?

Plastic pollution is the most serious environmental threat of our time. With 320 millions tons of plastic produced each year, and nearly half of that for single-use disposable items, most of which is non-recyclable, our waterways and oceans have become dumping grounds for a highly toxic and persistent material.

One organization called A Plastic Planet hopes to bring about much-needed change with a brilliant campaign idea that it will launch in coming weeks. Called A Plastic Free Aisle, it calls on supermarkets in the United Kingdom (and, hopefully, around the entire world) to create an aisle that is entirely plastic-free.

There are increasing numbers of people who are concerned about plastics and who consciously choose to avoid plastic as much as possible; but it can be extremely difficult to find stores that are willing to accommodate such preferences. This hardly seems fair, when you think of the considerations given to other people’s beliefs and shopping preferences.

In a short video by Sky News, shared on A Plastic Planet’s Facebook page, a zero-waste shopper named Pip describes her frustration with the current supermarket system that does not allow for package-free options:

“We have a lot of choice about what kinds of foods we buy, whether it’s gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, but we have much less choice about how we buy, what it comes in. It’s virtually impossible to buy all of your food without some kind of plastic packaging.”

Pip travels 60 miles from Bedford to north London to shop at Earth Natural Foods, an alternative grocery and health food store that allows her to purchase waste-free. I, too, can attest to the fact that zero-waste shopping requires far more errands around town and into the surrounding area to fulfill my family’s grocery needs (although this will soon become much easier with Bulk Barn’s new policy allowing reusable containers).

Read more here.