Skip to navigationSkip to content

World's first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket

By the Guardian

Campaigners hail progress as Amsterdam store offers dedicated aisle of more than 700 products, with plans for a national roll-outRead full story

Comments

  • Also share to
  • Jing Cao
    Jing CaoQuartz

    The European grocery industry feels so much more advanced than the US one in so many ways: they’ve been faster adopters of ecommerce and automation, and they’re clearly ahead in making actual change around waste and environment.

    This Dutch chain is tapping into real and growing consumer demand for better, cleaner, more sustainable, and hopefully it’s a wake up call for everyone else. I’m excited to see how this develops, especially if this chain can prove out the business model of going plastic-free.

  • Ernie Sander
    Ernie SanderDirector of Platform Community at Quartz

    This seems like one of those no-brainer, great idea, if close to half of all plastic waste comes from supermarkets, which is the figure according to one estimate. There's nothing magical or essential about your rice or fruit or chocolate or meat coming wrapped in plastic, as long as the biodegradable container that replaces the plastic preserves/protects the food from germs/spoilage where necessary. I know in my own day-to-day life, I use a lot of bags and wrappings of different types that I just

    This seems like one of those no-brainer, great idea, if close to half of all plastic waste comes from supermarkets, which is the figure according to one estimate. There's nothing magical or essential about your rice or fruit or chocolate or meat coming wrapped in plastic, as long as the biodegradable container that replaces the plastic preserves/protects the food from germs/spoilage where necessary. I know in my own day-to-day life, I use a lot of bags and wrappings of different types that I just don't really need.

    Typically, the sticking point with these kinds of environmental upgrades is price--not everybody is willing to pay more for eco-friendly options. But in the Netherlands, they're apparently replacing plastics with materials that don't change the cost of the food item, which is very promising.

  • This is great progress towards showing that stores can lead the charge in creating a better world less reliant on plastic. Next time I’m in the Netherlands I will go there since I’m not sure how many US stores try this : /

  • Peter Green
    Peter GreenFounder at FoodMakers.NYC

    This is great for the environment, and for innovation, too. There have been a whole number of packaging innovations in recent years that could upturn the way we live on our planet. Plastic packaging and waste has created the Great Pacific Garbage Patch https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/, two huge spirals of plastic waste that are killing marine life. Now there are products like biodegradabale cassava packaging that mimic many of plastic's useful effects

    This is great for the environment, and for innovation, too. There have been a whole number of packaging innovations in recent years that could upturn the way we live on our planet. Plastic packaging and waste has created the Great Pacific Garbage Patch https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/, two huge spirals of plastic waste that are killing marine life. Now there are products like biodegradabale cassava packaging that mimic many of plastic's useful effects, and more kinds of biodegradable plastic-like packaging. But the opposition from entrenched industry is astounding. New York City was unable to ban plastic supermarket bags and styrofoam cups, simply because the businesses that made these products were able to fund lawsuits and political opposition. We can do better, and if innovators come up with better and cheaper solutions, we'll all be better off.

  • It starts with one aisle in one supermarket in one country.

    No surprise that this is happening in the Netherlands.

  • First an aisle, next whole store (which I know exists as well)

  • OMG! This is a dream come true! I'm sure while stores like this are possible. Just have to figure out the logistics of how to take this stuff home without lugging around a whole house. Also - lots of planning might be needed to shop there.

  • Jason Liao
    Jason LiaoGrowth at WeWork

    I think this is a great step in the right direction. Europe definitely seems ahead of US in its push to be more environmentally friendly (e.g., charging customers for asking for a plastic bag). I remember while a European resident that I would consciously remember to bring a bag with me to the supermarket (and most others would do the same) because I didn't want to get charged extra for bags (though it was a nominal fee). This plastic free aisle initiative will definitely be well received especially

    I think this is a great step in the right direction. Europe definitely seems ahead of US in its push to be more environmentally friendly (e.g., charging customers for asking for a plastic bag). I remember while a European resident that I would consciously remember to bring a bag with me to the supermarket (and most others would do the same) because I didn't want to get charged extra for bags (though it was a nominal fee). This plastic free aisle initiative will definitely be well received especially if it doesn't compromise the products or hurt the customers' wallet.

  • Adaora Udoji
    Adaora Udoji

    This is just great. Really. The destruction that plastic causes to our environment is relentless, any attempt to mitigate that is truly encouraging!

  • James Bidwell
    James BidwellExecutive Chair at Springwise

    Brilliant. Love this. Please will other retailers follow suit

  • Sopiea Mitchell
    Sopiea MitchellCEO at 3toZEN

    Now this is what I call progress...Love it!

Want more conversations like this?

Join the Quartz community for all the intelligence, without the noise.

App Store BadgeGoogle Play Badge
Leaderboard Screenshot

A community of leaders, subject matter experts, and curious minds bringing nuance back to how we talk about the news.

Editors' Picks Screenshot

No content overload: our editors will curate the most notable and discussion-worthy pieces for you every day.

Share Screenshot

Don’t just read the story, tell it: contribute your ideas and experience to the dialogue.