BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 13 Sept '18

A Plastic Free Aisle arrived in London for a global summit, showcasing examples of plastic-free packaging

Main image photo credit: Luc Gillard

A Plastic Free Aisle was recreated yesterday (12 September) at a global packaging conference in London.

The Packaging Innovations 2018 conference played host to the Aisle in a landmark move that could signal a major shift towards plastic-free shopping across Britain and Europe.

From coffee to fresh meat

The brainchild of international environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet, the Aisle showed tangible examples of everyday items that are packaged without plastic.

Products on show included tea, coffee, chocolate, dairy, bread and fresh meat wrapped in innovative materials such as wood, cellulose and plant pulp, compostable biomaterials as well as in traditional materials such as glass, metal and cartonboard.

The products carried A Plastic Planet’s Plastic Free Consumer Trust Mark, a front of pack symbol that instantly informs customers at the point of purchase that packaging is plastic-free.

The Trust Mark is set to be adopted by influential global brands, following on from its adoption by supermarket chains Iceland and Ekoplaza earlier this year.

‘Despite the fact the public have been highly vocal about wanting to change, they are still given little choice’, Sian added. ‘Almost all retailers continue to use indestructible plastic packaging; useful for days, lasting for centuries. A Plastic Free Aisle changes all that.

’40 percent of all plastic is used just for packaging. Reducing this will have a massively positive impact on our oceans, our soil and on the health of future generations. We implore industry to wake up; acknowledge that recycling isn’t the answer and start to turn off the plastic tap.’

SIAN SUTHERLAND
A Plastic Planet co-founder

’The future of food and drink retail’

Campaigners say Plastic Free Aisles represent the future of food and drink retail. Prime Minister Theresa May backed the initiative in her first major speech on the environment earlier this year.

In February this year A Plastic Planet, working with Dutch retailer Ekoplaza, introduced the world’s first Plastic Free Aisle in an Amsterdam store, featuring 700 plastic-free products. The Aisle has since grown to almost 2,000 products and has been rolled out in all 74 Ekoplaza stores.

Sian Sutherland, A Plastic Planet co-founder, said, ‘So much of the debate on plastic pollution scandalously blames the consumer for buying food and drink products laden in plastic. The reality is that shoppers buy what they are sold.’