Published On: Tue, Nov 13th, 2018

Britain’s first plastic-free supermarket opens in London

A London supermarket is ditching plastic packaging in its mission to become Britain’s first plastic-free supermarket. 

plastic-free supermarket london

Image credit: The Telegraph

Supermarkets are increasingly coming under fire from customers thanks to the amount of waste they produce with unnecessary packaging.

Some chains have taken small steps towards reducing their impact on the planet such as Morrisons, who recently reintroduced paper grocery bags in the vegetable aisle for customers to use for their fresh produce.

But one supermarket in Belsize Park in North London has taken it one step further by ditching plastic and packaging in its mission to become Britain’s first zero-waste supermarket.

Public Experiment

Over the past 10 weeks, Thornton Budgens has already converted over 1,700 product lines to non-plastic packaging on its journey to make the store “virtually plastic-free” within three years as a “public experiment” into how retailers can take steps towards retailing food more sustainably.

plastic-free supermarket london

Image credit: The Telegraph

Challenge

Whilst many of us have taken steps to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we produce after the devastation our over-consumption is having on the planet, the onus now lies on large companies to tackle the problem at the source.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Andrew Thornton, who owns the Budgens franchise, said: “We’re hoping that what we’re doing here will challenge the likes of Sainsbury’s, Tesco and others.

As soon as one of them turns round to the big producers such as Coca-cola, Heinz or Unilever and says “unless you stop sending us products in plastic, we’re not going to stock them”, change will come very quickly.”
Sian Sutherland, co-founder of the campaign group A Plastic Planet, which is working with Thornton Budgens, said that they have found it is large companies who are slow and unwilling to make changes to their packaging, with newer ‘challenger’ producers being more willing to sell their products in plastic-free alternatives, stating: “It’s the big brands that are like snails with their pace of change. What we are doing is an open door for new packaging technology.”
plastic-free supermarket london

Image credit: The Telegraph

Paper

Whilst the supermarket is ditching the plastic, it is not going zero-waste just yet as for many products grocery bags made from cellulose, a structural component of the cell walls of green plants, have replaced plastic bags in the store.

Vegan Zero Waste Store 

Whilst the supermarket might be keen to reduce the amount of plastic heading to landfill, it is not a dedicated vegan store as it will still be selling meat, eggs and dairy products.

Thankfully, a zero-waste vegan store, Hetu, is on a mission to help Londoners to live a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle in Clapham Junction, so be sure to check it out.

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